It was Jeb Corliss who said he would be the first, but apparently he’s been pipped to the post by stuntman Gary Connery who has entered history books to become the first skydiver to land safely without a parachute – but using a wingsuit.
Connery is a professional stuntman and BASE jumper who has made countless appearances in film and television screen including global blockbusters such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Harry Potter, The Beach, the Bond movie Die Another Day and the spoof spy thriller Johnny English.
Connery, 42, from nearby Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, leapt 2,400ft from a helicopter wearing a wingsuit, dropped for 3 seconds before reaching speeds of more than 80mph and swooped towards a “runway” of 18,600 cardboard boxes in an Oxfordshire field.
Five seconds before he hit the target he flared his suit to decrease his descent and glide angle before plunging into the boxes to break his fall.
“It was so comfortable, so soft,” Mr Connery told Sky News immediately afterwards. “My calculations obviously worked out and I’m glad they did.” It had taken 100 volunteers and friends six hours to build the landing strip, which was 350ft long, 40ft wide and 12ft high.
Gary is well known for pushing the boundaries of BASE Jumping; the sport of free falling from fixed objects such as bridges and cliffs, before parachuting to earth.