Base jumping

Base jumping

BASE jumping is one of the most dangerous extreme sports in which a special parachute is used to jump from various objects (houses, bridges, rocks).

The first BASE jumping world championship was held in Kuala Lampur (Malaysia) in August 2001. Base jumpers from 16 countries made jumps from the Petronas Tower skyscraper, competing in the speed and accuracy of landing.

In some cases, basers use equipment typical of other sports, i.e. jumping with bicycles, snowboards, etc.

Base jumping in translation from English means "basic jumping". In fact, the first part of this term (B.A.S.E.) is an acronym, i.e. the first letters of 4 words: building, antenna, span, earth - in fact, this is a list of objects, with which base jumpers (basers) jump. The second part of the term (jumping) means "jumping".

Base jumping appeared in 1978. On August 8, 1978, when cameraman Karl Benisch installed video cameras on El Capitan Rock and filmed the jumps (with a parachute type "wing") of Kent Lane, Mike Sherin, Tom Start and Ken Gosselin, it is really considered the birthday of base jumping. However, jumping from various static objects was undertaken much earlier, as there are many references in historical documents of many countries of the world. For example, in the XII century in China this kind of jumping was practiced by acrobats, in 1783 in France Louis Sebastian Lenormand jumped with a parachute from the Montpellier Observatory, and in 1912 Frederic Rodman Law jumped from the Statue of Liberty in America. In 1913, to demonstrate a new parachute model, Stefan Banich, who designed it, made a jump from a high-rise building using his invention, and a student from Russia Vladimir Ossovsky jumped off a bridge over the Seine (France) with a parachute. From the already mentioned El Capitan rock in Yosemite, Brian Schubert and Michael Pelky jumped in 1966, etc. However, such jumps were not systematic, and could not become a representation of a new sport, while the idea of ​​Karl Benisch brought fame and popularity to base jumping.

In the list of jumpers, Karl Benisch appears at number 1. Misconception. This list, established in 1981 by Benish himself, includes athletes who have jumped from all static objects (buildings, bridges, antennas, rocks), the names of which form the acronym BASE. Number 1 is Phil Smith (Texas), number 3 is Gene Benish, wife of the author of the list. Karl Benisch himself appears in the list at number 4.

Base jumping is similar to parachuting. Experts believe that there are many differences between these sports. First, jumpers jump from very low heights and too close to objects they are jumping from. Therefore, the speed of free fall is much less than the speed of parachutists, and the time of such a fall is most often limited to a few seconds. Secondly, before the jump, the base jumpers have a lot of physical activity - after all, they still need to get to the top of the chosen object. In parachuting, however, this kind of physical activity is most often absent - athletes simply climb aboard the aircraft from which they will jump. Thirdly, parachutists use air currents to stabilize their body position in the air. Base jumpers that develop a lower speed have almost no such opportunity, therefore there is a danger of destabilization of the body, turning into uncontrolled rotation. This can become a serious obstacle to the opening of the parachute (the athlete runs the risk of getting entangled in the sling, colliding with the object from which the jump was performed, etc.). And base jumpers will need special parachutes, and landing sites differ from parachute ones (if a special field is allocated for parachutists to land, then jumpers are forced to do with very limited areas).

For base jumping, ordinary parachutes are suitable. This is not true. A sport or landing parachute is designed to deploy 100-200 m above the ground. The design of the parachute system for base jumping (base system) assumes deployment 15-40 meters above the earth's surface. Most often, the base system is equipped with a large pilot parachute, but there is no reserve parachute at all - the duration of the jump in this sport is so short that if the main parachute fails, the base jumper will simply not have time to use the reserve one. Safety devices are also not used in the aforementioned parachute system. In addition, the parachute (most often square in shape) should be light so as not to burden the athlete during the ascent to the object from which the jump will be made.

There are many types of base jumping. Yes it is. The most famous of them:
• Assist or pilot chute - "pilot chute", assist - "assistant" - the pilot chute is either in the hands of the assistant, or is tied with a break line to something on the object from which the jump is made. This type of base jumping is used during the training of beginners or in the event that athletes jump from a low height;
• Freefall (English free fall - "free fall") - the athlete opens the pilot chute independently;
• Roll Over (English roll over - "somersault") or makkonkey - in this case, the canopy of the parachute is opened in advance, and is located in front of the athlete, who should perform a somersault to jump. For the first time such a jump was made by Sean McConkie (the type of jump is named after him);
• Utadrop (English drop - "jump, fall") - created by John Utah version of the makkonkey jump. The difference is that the parachute is first rocked (with the help of the wind or by hands), after which the base jumper makes a jump, trying to get into the space between the object and the canopy;
• Tard (English tard) - an athlete holds a canopy of a parachute, opened in advance and laid in a certain way, and throws it at the moment of separation from the object;
• Wrong wei (English wrong way - "back to front") - the jump is made backwards, a backpack with a parachute is fixed on the athlete's chest;
• Wingsuit - jumping using a special wing suit, thanks to which athletes can stay in the air for a long time. Most often, such costumes are used when jumping from rocks;
• Acrobatics - performing various tricks during free fall;
• Base jumping in a group - the most dangerous type of base jumping, involving the simultaneous participation of several experienced athletes in the jump.

Base jumping was used as entertainment or as proof of the new parachute model's performance. Sometimes jumps of this kind also had a different purpose. For example, in 1975, American Owen Queen, with his jump from one of the towers of the World Trade Center, sought to draw public attention to the plight of the unemployed.

Anyone can learn base jumping. First, a beginner base jumper must be physically healthy, have a high reaction speed and strong nerves. Secondly, it is possible to officially start practicing this sport only after completing at least 150 parachute jumps from an aircraft. An exception is semi-legal organizations that undertake to teach base jumping from scratch.

In the countries of the East, base jumping is not practiced. Indeed, for quite a long time this kind of jumps took place only in Europe, America, and also in some Asian countries (for example, in China). However, in 2006 Colonel Behzad Payandeh jumped from the Borje Milad tower (Iran).

Base jumping is not prohibited by law in many countries. Yes, but it should be borne in mind that unauthorized entry into objects that are privately owned or owned by the state is punishable by law (in some countries, this kind of violation is equated with hooliganism). In addition, base jumpers can also be brought to administrative responsibility for violations of public order and safety. Therefore, planning to do base jumping, first of all, you should obtain official permission for this type of activity.

Base jumping is fraught with danger to the health and life of athletes. Unfortunately, this is true. A jump made without special equipment, knowledge and skills most often ends in injury or death of an inexperienced jumper. But even experienced athletes are not immune to tragic accidents. According to official figures, 147 people died in base jumping from 1981 to 2010.

The most popular and safest base jumping site is the Troll Wall. The Troll Wall (Trolstigen), which is part of the Troltindden (mountain range in Norway), is very popular with base jumpers. But you can't call it safe for this sport - the rock mass is replete with ledges, sometimes reaching 50 m in length. And it's quite difficult to get to the top - rock falls are frequent in this area. It was the jump from the Wall of Trolls that led to the death of base jumping founder Karl Benisch in 1984. In 1986, the Norwegian authorities issued a law prohibiting base jumping from this facility, but this does not stop many daredevils.

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