The world’s most daring aerial athletes will converge in China October 13-14 for the World Wingsuit League’s inaugural Grand Prix downhill sky race which can be imagined as Formula 1 in the sky.
The race will be held in Hunan province near the town of Zhangjiajie, in the mountain range that inspired the “Floating Mountains of Pandora” in the blockbuster U.S. film, Avatar. The wingsuit pilots will race down the famed Tianmen Mountain, site of last year’s spectacular Tianmen Mountain Flythrough, which featured Jeb Corliss flying through the mountain’s eyehole-like cave.
The WWL brings together 16 of the world’s best wingsuit pilots to race against each other and time to determine who’s the fastest athlete in the world. Headliners include Corliss, supermodel-adventurer Roberta Mancino, and three of Transformer 3’s wingsuit stuntmen, John Devore, J.T. Holmes and Mike Swanson. The race will be broadcast live throughout China to several hundred millions viewers.
The race course is approximately three-quarters of a mile long, with a 2,600-foot vertical drop. The race itself is just like a downhill ski race, except faster – and the racers “get air” every moment they’re on the course. Their “runs” start when they leap into flight from a platform atop a 900-foot cliff at the mountain’s summit, fly around a course marker
platform on the ground below, then swoop down the mountain and under the tramway cable finish line before opening their parachutes and landing at the mountain’s foot. Each athlete flies the course solo, and the fastest time wins.
There will be two rounds of two runs each: an elimination round with all 16 wingsuit pilots, then a finals round with the top eight. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the top finishers. In addition, the Grand Prix champion will earn $20,000USD, 2nd place will win $10,000USD and 3rd place will take home $5,000USD. A trophy will be awarded to the athlete with the fastest single-run time. For more race details, go to the WWL website: http://www.worldwingsuitleague.com/rules/
About Wingsuit Flying
Wingsuit parachuting has been around since the early 1900s but until the end of the century it was a very dangerous stunt performed by parachuting pioneers, about 70 percent of whom died while flying their experimental contraptions.
In the mid-1990s, however, parachuting innovator Patrick de Gayardon invented a safe-to-fly wingsuit with arm and leg wings that were ram-air-inflated like the proven “square” parachutes that had been flown safely for decades – and a new sport was born.
Since then, wingsuit pilots have pushed to the edges of the human flight envelope, first from aircraft, then from vertical cliffs and, now, from mountaintops, where they “proximity fly” through valleys and gorges as they pursue the most daring and breathtaking sport so far known to man.
About World Wingsuit League
The World Wingsuit League (WWL) was formed to meet the demand of “proxy flyers” for competitions that tested their skills not just against the mountains but against each other. It administers invitational wingsuit flying competition events worldwide in collaboration with event sponsors, venue owners and associated government agencies.
The WWL was founded in 2012 by Iiro Seppanen and Frank Yang, co-owners of Pan Pacific Entertainment, a Hollywood-Based film investment, production and event services company with offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Iiro is an award-winning producer with business and professional relationships around the world. He has produced and financed several film, television and event projects in the U.S. and China. He lives in Los Angeles and travels frequently to China and Europe. He is a retired professional parachutist whose career was cut short by injuries, and he now uses his contact network and resources to “give current athletes opportunities to compete for real prizes, get more visibility through our events for their sponsors, and help them to earn a living doing what they love.”
Frank’s passion for the arts led him to finance and produce several entertainment ventures while living and working in Europe. Born in Beijing, China, he has lived and worked in Europe and North America for decades and traveled extensively throughout the world. Frank currently lives in Beijing, but visits the U.S. regularly to pursue his new-found passion of parachuting. He has more than 20 jumps as of this writing and looks forward “to the day when I too can realize the dream of human flight and fly a wingsuit down Tianmen Mountain.”