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Wingsuit Flying

How 2 daring wingsuiters completed the first flight through Tower Bridge

Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel became the first people to wingsuit through London's defining landmark – and at an astonishing 246kph. This is how they achieved the incredible word-first.
By JJ Dunning
3 min readPublished on
In an amazing display of precision flying, Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel have become the first wingsuiters ever to pass through London's famous Tower Bridge.
Austrian skydivers Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel in Red Bull helicopter above London skyline, waiting to jump out.

Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel prepare leap into the London skyline

© Michael Zajc/Red Bull Content Pool

We did around 200 training jumps just for this day, just for this minute
The Austrian freefall skydiving pioneers leapt from a helicopter west of the landmark on May 12 at 5.22am BST. Just 45 seconds later, the pair travelled 1,200m and landed safely on barges in the middle of the River Thames. Canon captured all of the light-speed action with 24 cameras in 14 different positions around Tower Bridge.
Wingsuiters Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel mid-flight approaching Tower Bridge in London

Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel did 200 training jumps before the big day

© Peter Salzmann/Red Bull Content Pool

Dropping from a height of 914m, 1.2km west of the bridge, they reached speeds in excess of 246kph as they passed through the 65m x 32m ‘window’ between the iconic towers.
Red Bull wingsuiter flying through Tower Bridge in London.

Making Tower Bridge's window meant absolute precision from a 900m descent

© Dominik Angerer/Red Bull Content Pool

Once they passed through the bridge at a height of around 30m, the pair pulled a 'flare' manoeuvre, climbing rapidly to around 85m in order to pull their parachutes for a safe landing in the River Thames.
I’m really grateful to work with Marco and such a good team to bring our dream to life
"I’m really grateful to work with Marco and such a good team to bring our dream to life," said Fürst. "I just feel amazing. The jump was beautiful and everything worked out really good. In the last two and a half years we planned everything through and had the best preparation and training"
Marco Fürst and Marco Waltenspiel in their Red Bull wingsuits, standing in front of Tower Bridge in London, parachutes lying on the ground beside them

Over a year's prep led up to the incredible Tower Bridge flight

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

It’s just insane to get this opportunity to fly through such a unique landmark - you see action like this in films, but to actually do it ourselves is amazing

Scroll down to follow the timeline of the Marcos' historic flight

01

Practice made perfect with 200 training jumps

Infographic showing wind speed in Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Wind speed: the wind speed needed to be less than 19kph for a safe flight

© FormBrands

Infographic showing flight safety details in the Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Flight safety: the Marcos needed clear visibility from the helicopter drop

© FormBrands

The flight marked the culmination of more than a year's worth of hard work, with preparations for the flight beginning in July 2022. Once planning was complete, the Marcos moved to a training ground in Oxfordshire in April 2023, where they recreated the dimensions of Tower Bridge by flying between two carefully positioned cranes.
These whopping 200 practice flights helped them define the specifics of the project, including that the optimum height to drop from would be 914m.
The Marcos jumped from a height of 914m before flying through London's Tower Bridge.

Altitude: the Marcos' training revealed 914m was the optimum drop height

© FormBrands

Infographic showing how Squirrel Suits worked in the Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Squirrel suits: there are three main wings controlling the pilots' descent

© FormBrands

02

Calculating a safe wingsuit drop from a 914m altitude

Marco Waltenspiel and Marco Fürst flew for 1.12km through Tower Bridge

Drop distance: the Marcos began their descent 1.12km away from Tower Bridge

© FormBrands

Infographic showing how the wingsuiters will fly in their Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Flight skills: the Marcos fly 3m horizontally for every 1m of descent

© FormBrands

The morning’s conditions needed to be perfect to ensure a safe flight.
The 914m altitude, combined with a drop point exactly 1.12km from the bridge, enabled them to get precisely the right speed and angle of descent.
Their thin-profile ‘squirrel suits’ are made of ripstop nylon, and provide the experience fliers with 3m of horizontal travel for every 1m of altitude lost.
03

Navigating the narrow Tower Bridge window and land on the River Thames

Infographic showing the measurements involved when the wingsuiters pass through Tower Bridge in the Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Tower Bridge target: the opening in the bridge is 61m wide by 58m high

© FormBrands

Infographic showing measurement details of the barge target the wingsuiters will land on in the Wings Through the Tower Bridge attempt.

Landing zone: two 30m x 5m barges in the Thames provided a landing spot

© FormBrands

On passing safely through the bridge, the pair then rose into a steep climb called a ‘flare’, in order to slow down and get enough altitude to safely pull their parachutes for landing.
This flare took them rapidly from an altitude of 35m, to a height of 80m, and was one of the lowest above sea level ever completed by wingsuiters.
Apart from the obvious challenges of precision flying, the Marcos were concerned with their safety when it came to landing on designated barges in the River Thames.
"One of the main dangers on this flight was the water. We are very happy to have avoided the Thames, because it's super cold and very fast-moving. We would never have attempted this flight without special water safety training and support boats on standby," says Fürst.

Part of this story

Marco Fürst

Austrian skydiver and frequent flyer, Marco Fürst, has dared to jump more than 10,000 times and enjoyed every single leap.

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Marco Waltenspiel

Being part of the Red Bull Skydive Team means BASE jumper Marco Waltenspiel can do what he loves every single day – fly like a bird.

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