What is Speedflying: Bring out your inner Ethan Hunt
What is Speedflying?
Speedflying is adrenaline-infused aerial sport that marries aspects of paragliding, base jumping, and skiing. It has been catching the attention of extreme sports enthusiasts worldwide. Combining elements of flight and downhill trajectory, it provides an intense, adrenaline-pumping experience unlike any other.
Its featured in the new Tom Cruise Mission Impossible where he spent two years training for the spectacular scene. He becomes a competent speedflyer and it makes for great watching.
Origins of Speedflying
Originating in the French Alps in the early 2000s, speedflying was born from the desire to add a vertical dimension to the thrill of downhill skiing. In essence, it involves a fast descent down mountainous terrain, assisted by a small, high-performance paraglider wing that enables flight over obstacles and safe landing.
What Makes Speedflying Different from Paragliding?
While paragliding emphasises slow, peaceful flights and thermal lift, speedflying focuses on fast, exhilarating descents close to the slope. The skill sets start the same and require the same knowledge of controlling a glider, understanding of wind and dynamic lift (lift created when wind hits and obstacle like a hill). Speedflying involves much higher degrees of risk due to the close proximity of the ground and the higher speeds reached.
How Does Speedflying Compare to Base Jumping?
Base jumping involves leaping from fixed objects (Building, Antenna, Span, or Earth) with a parachute. You freefall for a short period before deploying your Base chute which typically opens much quicker than a skydiving chute. Speedflying, on the other hand, employs a small ram-air wing, allowing pilots to control their speed and trajectory more fluidly and extending the flight duration significantly compared to base jumps. With Speedflying, you leave the ground with your wing already inflated above your head.
Skydiving or Speedflying: Which One Offers a More Intense Experience?
As for skydiving, it’s typically executed from an aircraft and involves a free-fall phase before deploying the parachute. Speedflying doesn’t involve the same altitude or freefall, but provides a unique sensation of high-speed proximity flying near the ground. When it comes to adrenaline, for those who have done a number of skydives then the adrenaline reduces and speedflying you can more directly control the speed, height and therefore risk. See also our comparison of skydiving vs. paragliding here.
How Can I Learn Speedflying?
Becoming a speedflyer isn’t a casual weekend project. The safest and most effective way to begin is by enrolling in a professional training course. It takes significant training and commitment, but it is achievable for anyone who puts their mind to it.
Various flight schools worldwide offer speedflying courses, where you’ll start with ground training to understand the equipment and learn launch techniques. The training then progresses to low-level hops and eventually to higher flights and advanced techniques as your skills improve.
Remember, a good grasp of paragliding or skydiving can provide an excellent foundation for speedflying, but it’s not a prerequisite. As an extreme sport, speedflying carries inherent risks, so ensuring you have proper training is paramount for safety.
Speedflying can bring you the excitement and thrill of flying that few other sports can offer. With the right training and a respect for safety guidelines, it can be an exhilarating way to take in some breathtaking views and feed your adrenaline rush!
I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.
For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.