BASE jumping

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BASE jumping, also sometimes written as B.A.S.E jumping, is an activity that employs an initially packed parachute to jump from fixed objects, as with paragliding. "B.A.S.E." is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).



The acronym "B.A.S.E." was coined by filmmaker Carl Boenish, his wife Jean Boenish, Phil Smith, and Phil Mayfield. Carl was the real catalyst behind modern BASE jumping, and in 1978, he filmed the first BASE jumps to be made using ram-air parachutes and the freefall tracking technique (from El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park). While BASE jumps had been made prior to that time, the El Capitan activity was the effective birth of what is now called BASE jumping. BASE jumping is significantly more dangerous than similar sports such as skydiving from aircraft, and is currently regarded by many as a fringe extreme sport or stunt.

BASE numbers are awarded to those who have made at least one jump from each of the four categories (buildings, antennas, spans and earth). When Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield jumped together from a Houston skyscraper on 18 January 1981, they became the first to attain the exclusive BASE numbers (BASE #1 and #2, respectively), having already jumped from an antenna, spans, and earthen objects. Jean and Carl Boenish qualified for BASE numbers 3 and 4 soon after. A separate "award" was soon enacted for Night BASE jumping when Mayfield completed each category at night, becoming Night BASE #1, with Smith qualifying a few weeks later.

During the early eighties, nearly all BASE jumps were made using standard skydiving equipment, including two parachutes (main and reserve), and deployment components. Later on, specialized equipment and techniques were developed that were designed specifically for the unique needs of BASE jumping.

  • In 1912, Franz Reichelt, tailor, jumped from the first deck of the Eiffel Tower testing his invention, the coat parachute. He died. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy.[citation needed]
  • In 1913, Štefan Banič jumped from a building in order to demonstrate his new parachute to the U. S. Patent Office and military.[citation needed]
  • In 1913, a Russian student Vladimir Ossovski (Владимир Оссовский), from the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, jumped from the 53-meter high bridge over the river Seine in Rouen (France), using the parachute RK-1, invented a year before that by Gleb Kotelnikov (1872–1944). Ossovski planned jumping from the Eiffel Tower too, but the mayor of Paris didn’t allow that. (Information from the Russian edition of GEO magazine, issue 11, November 2006, GEO).
  • In 1965, Erich Felbermayer jumped from Cima piccola di Lavaredo, in Italia.[citation needed]
  • In 1966, Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert jumped from the cliff "El Capitan" in Yosemite Valley.[citation needed]
  • On 9 November 1975, the first person to parachute off the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was Bill Eustace, a member of the tower's construction crew. He was fired.[citation needed]
  • In 1975, Owen J. Quinn, a jobless man, parachuted from the south tower of the World Trade Center to publicize the plight of the unemployed.
  • In 1976 Rick Sylvester skied off Canada's Mount Asgard for the ski chase sequence of the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, giving the wider world its first look at BASE jumping.[1]
  • In 1982, on the 22nd of February, Wayne Allwood, an Australian skydiving accuracy champion, parachuted from a helicopter over the Sydney CBD and landed on the small top area of Sydney's Centrepoint Tower approximately 300m above the ground. Within a couple of minutes of landing Allwood had discarded and secured his parachute and with spectacular style threw himself off the Tower using a full-sized reserve parachute to BASE jump into Hyde Park below. Video is available by searching 'Centrepoint Tower BASE jump 1982'
  • In 1987 Steve Dines (Australian) BASE 157 Made the first jump from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • In 1990 Russell Powell (British) BASE 230 illegally jumped from the Whispering Gallery inside St Paul's Cathedral London. It was the lowest indoor BASE Jump in the world.[citation needed]
  • In August 26, 1992 Nic Feteris and Glenn Singleman (Two Australians) made this base jump from an altitude of 20,600 feet (6286 meters) jump off Great Trango Towers Pakistan. It is the world's highest natural base jump of the earth and the most dangerous one as well.
  • In May 2008, Hervé Le Gallou and an unnamed British man, dressed as engineers, illegally infiltrated Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world (around 650m at the time), and jumped off a balcony situated a couple of floors below the 160th floor.[2][3]
  • In 2009, three women, 28-year-old Venezuelan Ana Isabel Dao, 29-year-old New Zealander Livia Dickie, and 32-year-old Norwegian Anniken Binz[4] base jumped from the highest waterfall in the world with a height of 979 metres (3,212 ft) and a clear drop of 807 metres (2,648 ft), Angel Falls, located in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State in Venezuela. Ana Isabel Dao was the first Venezuelan woman to jump off Angel Falls.[5]
  • On 8 January 2010, Nasr Al Niyadi and Omar Al Hegelan, from the Emirates Aviation Society, broke the world record for the highest building BASE jump after they leapt from a crane suspended platform attached to Burj Khalifa's 160th floor at 672 metres (2,205 ft).[6]

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