For a group of brave souls who’ve dreamt of soaring through the air, wingsuits have turned that dream into a reality. Wingsuit flying uses a special jumpsuit—called a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit or bat suit—that has fabric stretched between the legs and under the arms to create lift, allowing the wearer to fly.
The first known wingsuit was used by Rex G. Finney, a 19-year-old from Los Angeles, California, in 1930. Early wingsuits were made of materials such as canvas, wood, silk, steel and even whale bone, and were not very reliable. In 1999, the first commercial wingsuit was made available to the general public and the sport took off. A number of enthusiasts have taken to Instagram to share photos and videos from their flights. Want to go along for the ride? Follow these flyers on Instagram: