left corner left corner
China Daily Website

A bird? A plane? No, a Wingsuit champion

Updated: 2012-10-19 07:48
By Wen Xinzheng in Changsha and Jin Haixing in Beijing ( China Daily)

A wingsuit flier from South Africa won the first World Wingsuit Championship in Hunan province on Thursday.

South African Julian Boulle, won the championship with a result of 23.49 seconds after completing an obstacle course on Tianmen Mountain, a tourist attraction in Zhangjiajie city.

A bird? A plane? No, a Wingsuit champion

A competitor spreads his wings over Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, during the first World Wingsuit Championship, Oct 18, 2012. Photo by Yang Huafeng / China News Service

Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying through the air using a special jumpsuit, called a wingsuit, which adds surface area to the human body to enable the wearer to "fly".

The contest on Tianmen Mountain was the first of its kind and featured 15 athletes wearing wingsuits jumping off a cliff and then completing a 1.2-km-long obstacle course while flying, according to the World Wingsuit League, one of the organizers of the contest.

Boulle said he greatly enjoyed the contest and the chance to compete with top wingsuit fliers in the world.

He also set a world record with 23.01 seconds in the preliminary contest on Wednesday. Eight people took part in the final contest on Thursday.

A bird? A plane? No, a Wingsuit champion 

Norwegian Espen Fadnes took second place with 23.55 seconds and Briton James Boole won the third place with 23.84 seconds.

After the contest, all the contestants performed a demonstration of their flying skills to visitors on Tianmen Mountain.

The original schedule for the competition was Oct 12 to 14 but it was postponed to Oct 17 and 18 because of cloud and rain in the region, which made flying dangerous.

In order to ensure the safety of the wingsuit fliers, the Zhangjiajie city government assembled a team to overlook safety, logistics and emergency plans.

The weather on Tianmen Mountain on Thursday was fine and very suitable for the contest, said Tian Huilin, deputy manager of Tianmenshan Travel, one of the organizers of the contest.

Tian said Zhangjiajie will host the wingsuit flying contest again next year and the competition will be even harder for competitors than this year's contest.

Tianmen Mountain is located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan province. Tianmen means a gate in the sky in Chinese. It gets the name because of a giant natural hole in the mountain, which seems like a gate opening in the sky.

A bird? A plane? No, a Wingsuit champion

South African Julian Boulle (center), winner of the first World Wingsuit Championship in Hunan province on Thursday, poses for photos with competitors Norwegian Espen Fadnes (left) who took second place and Briton James Boole (right) who came third. Yang Huafeng / China News Service

On Sept 24, 2011, Jeb Corliss, a 35-year-old wingsuit flier, jumped from a helicopter and flew down about 600 meters to fly through the hole in the mountain, making him the first person to fly through the 1,300-meter-high hole.

Corliss also took part in the World Wingsuit Championship, but because of injuries to his legs he failed to enter the final contest on Thursday.

Contact the writers at and 

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page