Wingsuit flying is an amazing way to experience freefall by using a special jumpsuit with fabric wings between the arms and legs to generate lift. It essentially allows skydivers to glide downward similar to base jumpers, but with greater horizontal movement.
With the right equipment and training, wingsuit pilots can pull off awe-inspiring stunts, setting world records for time spent in flight and distance traveled.
While it looks incredibly fun, wingsuiting is also an extremely dangerous sport that requires proper training and experience. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with wingsuit skydiving safely and legally. And of course, we’ll cover the cost of wingsuit skydiving equipment.
- Wingsuit skydiving allows experienced skydivers to “fly” in freefall by wearing a special jumpsuit that forms a wing surface between the arms and legs.
- Expect to invest around $10,000-$15,000 in your first year for equipment, training, and jump tickets.
- Proper training and 200+ skydives are required before flying a wingsuit to ensure safety and fundamental skills.
- A first flight course and supervised coaching help you learn basics like body position, deployments, and altitude awareness.
- Patience and discipline are required to master wingsuit flying. Progress gradually under guidance of experienced instructors.
- With practice, wingsuiting allows skydivers to glide at high speeds with incredible control and acrobatic abilities.
- Remember to always put safety first and develop skills progressively to get the most out of this extreme yet rewarding sport.
How Much Does a Wingsuit Cost?
The wingsuit itself costs $1,000-$4,000 depending on the manufacturer and model. Most popular among beginners are intermediate wingsuits like the Tonfly Jeb or Squirrel Flight-Series suits. High-performance designs for experienced flyers can cost upwards of $5,000.
You’ll also need a sturdy, dependable parachute rated for swooping along with an AAD (Automatic Activation Device). Expect to spend around $5,000 and up for a complete parachute system. A helmet, goggles, altimeter, and audible are other required essentials.
In total, a new wingsuiter can expect to invest $7,000-$12,000 for gear. Rental equipment is limited, so purchasing your own equipment is recommended. Many drop zones may also have used wingsuits for sale at discounted prices.
Wicked Wingsuits reports that a new beginner wingsuit costs about $1,200.
According to Skydiving Planet, a very beginner-friendly suit is mentioned to cost close to $1,200, with a higher-performance suit costing around $2,000 after selling the beginner’s suit.
GlidingWild.com writes that the cost of wingsuit flying is reported to be $18,000 or more in the United States, including training, licenses, equipment, and the wingsuit itself.
The price guide also mentions that buying a brand-new wingsuit can cost more than a thousand dollars, and renting a wingsuit can start from $200 to $250 per month, with a daily or per-jump option available as well.
Wingsuit Training and Courses
Formal wingsuit instruction is essential and another significant investment. A basic first flight course runs about $1,500-$2,500 depending on the drop zone and number of jumps required. Some centers offer comprehensive training programs spanning 25-30 jumps and costing up to $5,000.
Beyond first flight, continuing education in wingsuit skydiving involves mastering skills through additional coached jumps. Load organizers at most drop zones can provide guidance on developing skills progressively.
Jump Tickets and Membership Fees
Like other skydiving disciplines, you must cover the cost of aircraft jumps and drop zone membership fees. For wingsuiting, expect to pay around $25 per jump. Membership and annual licensing through USPA ranges from $75-$250.
Over the first year of training, a wingsuit skydiver can expect to make at least 30-50 jumps. That means budgeting an additional $1,000 or more just for jump tickets.
Total Cost of the Wingsuit Jump
The total cost to go from your first tandem to flying your first wingsuit and then becoming a professional wingsuit flyer can range from $10,000 to $15,000. The gear and training are an investment as you gain skills and experience over many jumps. Wingsuit skydiving is not a hobby for the faint of heart or light of wallet!
What Are the Requirements to Start Wingsuit Skydiving?
Wingsuit skydiving is an extreme sport that requires proper progressive training and experience before you can fly safely. Here are the main requirements:
- USPA Class D Skydiver License – At minimum you must hold a USPA Class D license, which requires completing 25 jumps. Class D allows you to jump without direct instructor supervision.
- 200+ Skydives – USPA regulations and most drop zone policies require at least 200 skydives before wingsuiting. This ensures fundamental freefall skills and airmanship.
- Wingsuit First Flight Course – A structured first flight course with at least 7 jumps teaches and evaluates proficiency in basic wingsuit skills like deployments and flying body position.
- Signoff from Instructor – An experienced wingsuit coach reviews your jump numbers, skills, and readiness and provides final signoff to fly. They may request demonstration jumps to assess abilities.
The requirements are in place for good reason – to help you stay safe and avoid serious injury or death. Wingsuit skydiving is an advanced skill, not ideal for new skydivers. But with dedication and practice, you’ll get there!
How Can You Get Started with Wingsuit Flying?
Eager to don the squirrel suit but not sure where to begin? Here are some tips to get your wings:
Start Skydiving and Gain Experience
The first step is getting into skydiving. Find a local drop zone and enroll in a tandem jump to get hooked. Sign up for their AFF instructional program to get licensed and then focus on sharpening fundamental freefall skills like backflying, tracking, and maneuvering on belly and back.
Aim for around 200 jumps in 12-18 months. This flight time will build overall body awareness, air sense, and capability to handle emergencies like malfunctions.
Meet with a Wingsuit Coach
Once you approach the minimum 200 jumps, schedule a meeting with a wingsuit instructor or coach at your drop zone. They can review your jump numbers, skills, and readiness for wingsuiting. Be prepared to demonstrate key skydiving techniques like backflying stable and flat.
Follow their recommendations on skills to master before your first wingsuit flight. Every new skill makes you that much more prepared.
Sign Up For First Flight Course
When your wingsuit instructor gives the thumbs up, get signed up for a first flight course! A structured 7-10 jump training program will teach you important basics like exit position, body orientation, altitude awareness, and parachute deployment while wearing a wingsuit.
Before flying solo, you’ll need to demonstrate stability, heading control, and reliable deployments. Listen to your instructor and focus on developing a safety-first mindset.
Keep Practicing and Progressing
Your wingsuit journey has only just begun after first flight. Expect at least 30 supervised wingsuit jumps over several months to get comfortable. Work with coaches to refine form and gradually increase speed and performance. Stick to beginner-friendly wingsuit models as you master basic flying skills and awareness.
With experience, you can progress into more advanced wingsuits and maneuvers like swooping, high-performance landings, and formation flying. But always put safety first!
Wingsuit skydiving requires dedication, perseverance, and passion. But the thrill of self-powered flight makes it all worthwhile. By following these steps and exercising patience, you’ll be flying like a squirrel in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions About Wingsuit Skydiving
Here are answers to some common questions people have about getting started in wingsuit skydiving:
How long does wingsuit training take?
Plan for a minimum of 6 months from starting skydiving to flying your first wingsuit, longer if jumping less frequently. You’ll need around 30 coaching jumps after your first flight course to become truly comfortable. Be patient and focus on skills, not jump numbers.
Can anyone wingsuit skydive?
Wingsuiting requires athleticism and stamina. You should be in good physical health with no major injuries or conditions that could impair flight. Discuss any concerns with an instructor. Anyone can skydive, but wingsuiting takes advanced skills and experience.
What are the risks of wingsuit skydiving?
Like any extreme sport, wingsuit flying carries serious risks including loss of stability, mid-air collisions, objects on the ground, terrain dangers, and parachute malfunctions. Risk is highest for inexperienced jumpers attempting maneuvers beyond their skill level in high-performance wingsuits. But with proper training and a cautious mindset, risks can be mitigated.
How high do you jump from for wingsuit skydiving?
Experienced wingsuiters may jump from elevations over 15,000 feet, but beginners start around 5000 feet or less. Lower deployments teach critical skills for high-altitude jumps. Your instructor will determine the appropriate jump altitudes and progression based on your skills.
What type of wingsuit is best for beginners?
Beginner wingsuit models like the Tonfly Jeb, Squirrel Zanza, or Phantom X are ideal for first-flight students. They provide stability and moderate glide performance ratings to instill fundamental flying skills without being overly sensitive or squirrelly. Listen to your instructor’s gear recommendations.
Learning to wingsuit skydive is an incredible journey that rewards discipline, perseverance, and courage. Seek out quality instruction, stay within your experience level, and never stop learning. Before you know it, you’ll step out of that plane and feel the magic of self-powered human flight!