These 2 wingsuit flyers just BASE jumped into a plane in mid-air
© Max Haim
Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet have completed an incredible stunt that saw them fly into the cabin of a plane as it flew over the Swiss Alps. Find out how they did it right here.
A Door in the Sky
The sport of wingsuit flying has been taken to the next level by Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet, who are two BASE-jumping experts from France known as the Soul Flyers. Their latest project is called A Door In The Sky and saw them BASE jump from the one of Europe’s highest peaks and into a plane while it was flying at altitude.
Click on the video above to see the duo launch themselves off the summit of the Jungfrau mountain in the Bernese Alps before landing in the tiny cabin of Pilatus Porter light aircraft in mid-air. And then read our interview with Reffet to find out how they pulled off such an amazing achievement.
How did this project come about?
We wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Patrick de Gayardon's achievement in 1997, when he jumped from an aircraft with a wingsuit and then flew back into the plane. He was a pioneer in our scene and we wanted to reproduce his stunt. At the beginning of the year, I woke up one day and said to Fred, "We have to do it but with a BASE jump from a cliff!''
How different was the training for this stunt?
When we started to train, we thought it would be easier to be honest. Then we realised that it was quite a technical and mental challenge. We had to be focused. During the first training session in Spain, Fred managed to fly into the plane, but I failed and hurt my ribs. One month later, we came back for another session. We felt better and it worked out. We managed to make it five times.
Then you decided to do it from the cliff?
The most important thing was to control the stunt before going to Switzerland so we just have to repeat from the cliff what we did during training.
How do you communicate while you're flying?
We use a push-to-talk system to communicate between us. We've already done around 100 flights with the aircraft pilot, Philippe Bouvier. It was a real team effort.
How does it feel to enter into a plane at high speed?
It's cool but also quite weird! We're used to jumping from the plane, but here you have to enter into it. You're falling down and all of a sudden there’s no air anymore. The feeling is quite strange. When you're in the plane and you see your friend flying closer and closer, it's incredible. It was very emotional for us because we worked hard to make it happen.
How did it feel to not use a parachute during the jump?
It was crazy. You're at 4,000m, you jump and that’s it! You start from point A and you finish at point B in a plane. But it takes so long to make it work. We thought about our moves and the plane every day during our two months of training for this. Even when you're not jumping, you're thinking about it. It takes all your energy.
You must be proud of what you've done?
Yes! It was the most intense project of our career. You need to have skills, focus and there’s also a lot of work. We had to make the plane safe so we don't hurt ourselves if we touch it. We also worked on the parachutes so they don’t open too fast in case we touch the plane. But the biggest risk was when we BASE jumped from the cliff. That's why we wanted to train so much before going to the mountain. In total, we flew into the plane 20 times.