How a wingsuit works with Cedric Dumont

Find out what makes a wingsuit fly.
How a wingsuit works
By Josh Sampiero

To the guy on the ground, a skydiver or BASE jumper in a wingsuit may look like someone in a bat suit – but as Red Bull BASE jumper Cedric Dumont explains, the set-up is a bit more sophisticated than that.

1. The exit
I live in Belgium. We don't have a lot of mountains for BASE jumping, so I train for the wingsuit by skydiving. This image was taken just a millisecond after I hopped out of the plane.

2. The suit
I use the same suit for everything – whether I'm jumping out of a plane or off a cliff. I like getting used to it and knowing exactly what it will do. Today's suits have a glide ratio of 3.5 or four to one – that means for every four meters you move forward, you fall just one meter. Attainable ground speeds reach 150km/h. After that, wind resistance doesn't let you go any faster.

3. Inlets
As soon as I jump off a cliff or out of a plane, these vents help fill the suit with air and pressurise it, giving it shape and rigidity. The sooner the suit inflates, the better it will perform.

4. Arm wings
Your arms help hold the wings out from the body, but it's not all muscle power – the pressurisation in the suit helps. A foam block on the leading edge of the arms helps smooth air flow over the surface of the wing.

5. Parachute
The chute is integrated into the wing system although it can be swapped out for different parachutes. When you jump out of a plane, you need to have two – a main chute and reserve. The handle for the regular chute is on the back. You reach behind you to release the chute. You need a lot of coordination to stay stable during the opening sequence.

6. Go Pro
I always have one GoPro – and no, I'm not sponsored by them. It's less about the glory – and more about reliving the fun of the jump.

7. Reserve Handle
You don't want to touch this, but it's there if you have to. The red handle fires your reserve chute if your main chute releases wrong or isn't slowing you down enough.

8. Shoes
I just jump in whatever shoes are suitable for the ground I'll be landing on. A lot of times, it's the same shoes I use for longboard skateboarding.

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