Check the video and inside story behind Jokke Sommer's epic Aiguille du Midi wingsuit flight.
“Your brain is so switched on, you've done it in your mind so many times.” That's the mental state wingsuit pilot Jokke Sommer entered before steering himself under a high-altitude footbridge earlier this year, a stunt seen in this killer video from Ellioth & Winther Film.
The bridge, which spans across two spires of the Aiguille du Midi in the Mont Blanc massif, offered a small but just do-able window for the pilot and two friends, Espen Fadnes and Ludo Woerth — but one with little margin for error.
The jump was part of Sommer's on-going series “The Perfect Flight”, in which the team has visited numerous spots in the Alps, jumped off buildings in Bangkok, and almost hit a gondola in China. See more from The Perfect Flight series here.
Jumping out of a helicopter at an altitude of 4,300m, they were just 500m away from the bridge. That gave them about 10 seconds to assess whether they would go for the hole shot or attempt to pass above the bridge. “I was very strict about doing two flights over the bridge first,” says Sommer. “Then going under the bridge means just a tiny angle of adjustment. If you saw something wrong, you'd bail instantly.”
Despite the obvious risks, Sommer says it wasn't the most technically difficult jump he's ever done. But, it still gives him the butterflies. “I could feel my nerves. It's high altitude, and there's no bail-out points.”
Preparation took a couple days, and by the time the pilots got around to the actual stunt, word about the attempt had gotten around the mountain town of Chamonix, and a significant crowd had formed on the bridge to see it first-hand.
For the spectators, it was a couple hours of their day to take one of the world's highest gondolas up and back down again. The wingsuit flyers landed back in Chamonix, near the entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel, less than 5 minutes after jumping out of the helicopter. That's the quick way down.
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