After a successful premiere in 2014, Red Bull Aces will return to the skies of Northern California with the goal of crowning the world’s best all-around wingsuit pilot. As the first-ever wingsuit-cross competition, as well as the first to incorporate slalom-style gates in the sky, the milestone contest heralds a spectacular new era in aerial sports.
A world-leading roster of 40 athletes from 19 nations will take part. Qualifying will cut the field to 32 who will then compete in the Finals. The heats of four will jump from a civilian version of a Bell “Huey” helicopter at 7,500 feet above ground level and race through five 100-foot-long gates suspended from other helicopters at positions from 6,000 to 3,500 feet above ground level.
The winner is based not only on how quickly the finish line is crossed, but also on how many gates he/she correctly passes through.
While the event looks to push the evolution of the sport of wingsuit racing, it does so while keeping the safety of the athletes in mind. Each athlete will wear two parachutes, a main and a backup reserve, and every reserve has an automatic opener, just in case a pilot doesn’t deploy his/her parachute at a predetermined safe altitude.