One of the world’s most accomplished wingsuit flyers, Sebastián Álvarez, has become the first person ever to fly in and out of an active volcano – successfully performing the flight in the Araucanía Region of Chile. Here is all you need to know:
– Renowned for pushing the limits and redefining what is possible in a wingsuit, the former military pilot spent an entire year preparing for the flight into one of Chile’s most dangerous volcanos.
– Álvarez had identified the Villarica Volcano as the ideal location for the project, as not only did it have a huge crater with a diameter of more than 200m, but its surroundings showcased the natural beauty of his home country.
– In the months leading up to the flight, Álvarez spent much of his time at the volcano, learning all he could about the smoke columns, the air pressure and the speed of the wind.
– He also had to perform numerous calculations to ensure he would be able to successfully navigate in and out of the huge crater at incredibly high speed.
– As well as studying the volcano, Álvarez travelled across Europe and South America, performing around 500 jumps in preparation for the incredible attempt.
– Once Álvarez felt prepared to take on the project, it was then time to wait for the perfect conditions. With the Villarica Volcano being one of the most dangerous in Chile and with frequent eruptions, the timing was everything.
– When the green light was given, the man known as ‘El Ardilla’ had to ensure his flight direction and speed was just right as he jumped from the helicopter. He then performed a suit flare manoeuvre, allowing him to descend close to 10m inside the volcano before exiting at a speed of 180kph.
– Dani Román, who filmed Álvarez in action, said: “For someone who doesn’t know anything about a wingsuit, basically what Seba has done is to fly with his own body inside an active crater and fly his way out of it. Just with his body, no motor, only a little bit of fabric.”
– Álvarez, 36, revealed: “The volcano in Mapuche [one on the indigenous languages of the region] is called Ruka Pillán, which translates to ‘the house of the devil’. I felt like I was going straight to hell, and at the same time, I wanted to experience it and fly out.
– He added: “The feeling of going into the devil’s house has been one of the scariest, most dangerous and weirdest things I’ve experienced. I had to talk with the volcano first because the volcano does what it wants and if I made a mistake, I could’ve stayed there, in hell.”
Watch the clip and learn more about the project here: https://www.redbull.com/int-en/volcano-sebastian-ardilla-alvarez-wingsuit