It's a new BASE jump world record - 828m off the famous Burj Khalifa in Dubai, more well known as the world's tallest building, and unlike some recent building BASE-jumping adventures, this one wasn't illegal. After weeks of training at Skydive Dubai, Fred Fugen and Vincent Reffet BASE jumped into history.
“This is the leap of a lifetime and the result of three years of planning,” said Fugen. Pulling off the impressive stunt took the help of some high-profile individuals, namely Nasser Al Neyadi, chairman of Skydive Dubai and H.E. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum The Crown Prince of Dubai, who helped the Soul Flyer team gain access to the building.
Once in, the trip up was easier than their many trips up the Lauterbrunnen, where they trained - the Burj Khalifa's elevator brings them to just 150m below the top, and from there, a set of stairs and ladders inside the tower brings them to the top.
The biggest risk is that the building grows larger at the bottom, meaning they'd have to put some distance between themselves and the launch pad. At the top, a specially constructed 3m ramp allowed them room for a safe take-off that would distance them from the building. Once they exited, the extreme height of the building left them with lots of options. Says Fugen: “It's the only building in the world that lets you do free-fly manoeuvres, jumping head down!”
Of course, given the buildings unique and impressive architecture, the Soul Flyers had a goal: to circle the building one and a quarter times, which they safely did. “We had very good conditions,” said Fugen. “There was a three-day window for the jump, and we got perfect weather on the second day.”
They made a total of six jumps, in both free-fly mode and wing suits. Rounding the building in their suits was an ambitious endeavour - turning increases the rate of descent significantly. But nevertheless, says Fugen, “We never got scared!”
Team-mate Vincent Reffet echoes his feelings: “This was by far the most exciting jump of my life, a dream come true.”
Enjoy the video above, and stay tuned - with 20 cameras on the ground, two helicopters, and plenty of GoPros, we have a feeling there's more coming.
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