From Ottawa Sun:
Friends and colleagues of a Canadian adventurer who died in China are flooding social media with glowing tributes, loving remembrances and some small measure of resignation at the inevitability of his demise.
The body of 28-year-old Graham Dickinson was found last Thursday on a cliff in the Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in the central province of Hunan.
The day before, he posted a picture of the mountain on his Facebook page, accompanied by a smiling emoji and the description “feeling like he is dreaming.”
Dickinson was regarded as one of the best in the world at a sport called wingsuiting, in which athletes jump from high places and glide to the ground with the aid of aerodynamic body suits that make their wearers look a little like flying squirrels.
There have been numerous fatalities of wingsuit flying - almost since the inception of the sport but there were 2 that stood out in our minds because they occurred in Canada:
- On May 9, 2007 - American adventurer and TV personality Jimmy Hall, age 41, was on an expedition to Baffin Island in northern Canada. After several days of successful jumps, Hall attempted a wingsuit flight through a canyon. He failed to clear a ledge, and impacted the cliff.
- And back on June 26 of last year (2016), Gary Kremer, 30-year-old American basejumper and former U.S. Marine, died while wingsuit flying with friends in Canada.
Remembering Graham Dickinson...
Did you know...
an early attempt at wingsuit flying was made on 4 February 1912 by a 33-year-old tailor, Franz Reichelt, who jumped from the Eiffel Tower to test his invention of a combination of parachute and wing, which was similar to modern wingsuits. He misled the guards by saying that the experiment was going to be conducted with a dummy. He hesitated quite a long time before he jumped, and was killed when he hit the ground head first, opening a measurable hole in the frozen ground.
Check out our post:
(CAUGHT ON FILM: Failed Parachute Attempt by Franz Reichelt)
- Flying a wingsuit adds considerable complexity to a skydive. According to the Skydivers' Information Manual, the United States Parachute Association (USPA) requires that any jumper flying a wingsuit for the first time have either a minimum of 200 free fall skydives made within the past 18 months and receive one-on-one instruction from an experienced wingsuit jumper, or have 500 jumps experience to attempt to fly a wingsuit without an instructor.
- On 23 May 2006, the Australian couple Heather Swan and Glenn Singleman jumped from 6,604 metres (21,667 ft) off Meru Peak in India, setting a world record for highest Wisbase jump. This record was broken on 5 May 2013, by the Russian Valery Rozov, who jumped from 7,220 metres (23,690 ft) on Mount Everest's North Col.
- On 28 May 2011, Japanese wingsuit pilot Shin Ito set world records for the fastest speed reached in a wingsuit of 363 km/h (226 mph)