re-sized heather and glynn

Aussie husband and wife team, Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan, to go for wingsuit world record

Husband and wife team Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan will jump from a balloon at 39,000 feet near Docker River before a high-speed scenic flight in their custom-made suits.

Mr Singleman says they are determined to beat the previous wingsuit mark to add to an earlier world record they set in India for base jumping.

The adventurous couple have been planning their Alice world record assault for over a year.

They have completed two test jumps in the area since arriving in Alice Springs last week.

Central Australia has the ideal conditions for wingsuiting, Mr Singleman says, and will give the couple an advantage as they seek to beat the current wingsuiting record set by Spanish wingsuiters flying over Gibraltar in the Mediterranean.

The Spaniards flew 20km in their wingsuits, and Mr Singleman and Ms Swan hope to better that mark by gliding 30km in seven minutes.

“The secret to breaking the record is two-fold, firstly we have to get up very high so we’re going up to 39,000 feet in a balloon,” Mr Singleman said.

“The second part of getting a distance record is to have a fantastic tailwind behind you. And one of the best tailwinds in the world rages over Alice Springs way through winter and in fact it blows it well over 100 miles an hour, 100 knots, up high, so we will use that as a tail wind to push us along.”

The unique Central Australian landscape was another lure to making the attempt near Alice.

“It’s amazing, I mean it’s so beautiful,” Mr Singleman said. “We’ve done our test jump out here near Alice and it was so beautiful flying in our red suits over the red desert. And the clarity, the air, it’s so wonderful out here, and all the beautiful landscapes, it’s a fantastic place to jump.”

The couple has enjoyed exploring Central Australia during their time in Alice, and telling locals about their daring world record bid.

One question they find they are constantly asked not only in Alice, but all over Australia, is obvious; Why would anyone want to leap from a balloon high in the sky wearing only a puffy suit with wings attached?

For Mr Singleman, who trained as a doctor, the answer lies partly in medical science, and partly in the couple’s shared competitive spirit.

“Heather and I already have the world record for altitude wingsuit base jumping, and once you’ve got one world record you’ve got this sort of stuff in your system” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of study on the personality type of people who go after world records and this type of achievement and high sensation seekers.

“There’s some research now that points to the fact that high sensation seekers, the explorers of the world, they’ve probably got a genetic trait. They’ve got more copies of (what they call) the thrill gene.

“I’ve actually had my genes analysed and I’ve got exactly what the textbook says I should have. There’s a genetic imperative if you like for me to challenge myself to go after high goals and work towards these kind of pushing-the-envelope type projects.

“And that’s just the kind of person I am. Heather’s had the same genetic analysis and she’s exactly the same. So we can always blame it on our genes.”

Mr Singleman admits there will be some jangly nerves when the pair look down from 40,000 feet and prepare to jump. But once they’ve exchanged their special skydiver handshake, all bets are off and it will be time to take the plunge.

“You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get a little scared,” he said.

“But we have been doing this kind of stuff for so long that we’ve developed these systems. And we’ve got a lot of trust in the systems. We know the oxygen’s going to work, we know the wingsuits will work, we know the parachute’s going to work, so it’s all good.”

Thanks to the ABC team in Australia for bringing this story to my attention and best wishes to Glenn and Heather on their world record attempt. I have included a YouTube video by mcdtcw of wingsuit flying so you can get a taste of what Glenn and Heather will be doing – it is perhaps not the best representation because the wingsuit flyers in the video are jumping off a cliff but it will give you an idea of how fast they will be flying. Good luck guys.

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