My friend Jeff messaged me right before I was heading to sleep to say Greg and I made the frontpage of reddit with this gif someone made of one of our jumps

So stoked to see all the love for something we pour our hearts into. When I am not flying, I work on a project called BaseBeta -- if you are jumper, check it out at -- with my girlfriend Jean and a team of volunteers that is dedicated to providing laser profiles of wingsuit/tracksuit exits, providing gps start analysis tools, and approach beta.


For additional media visit:





Update 1: Fell asleep over here. Keep the questions coming. I'll be doing my best to answer them throughout the day.

Update 2: Thanks for all the love reddit. Gonna keep doing my best to keep up with the questions.

Update 3: Floored by the response this thread has gotten. So stoked that there are so many budding future wingsuit pilots.

Check out to find your nearest dropzone to start learning to skydive. That's the first step! For the large number of folks interested in risk, self delusion, sports psychology, I recommend reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. That was one of my favorite reads this year and super relevant to what we do.

There were also a fair number of questions about money and work. Software development is a job you can do in many places around the world. I currently do contract work for a fully remote company. My girlfriend does remote software development work as well. Neither of us have formal education for it and are self-taught. My main motivation for pursuing that career path was having a healthy budget for wingsuit adventures. I've still found myself living out of a car for many months, but I am super happy. The path is not for everyone, but if you really want to make it happen -- you might want to consider the benefits of remote IT work combined with the occasional paid sports gig. It's not a bad life.

Will be back on tomorrow to answer more questions and will be calling it a wrap after tomorrow (August 28).

Update 5: It's been fun reddit! Thanks for the great questions, jokes, and dialogue. I am most responsive on Instagram. If you have more questions and want to chat, hit me up there. Stoked to see how many people are interested in getting started with skydiving. I think you all should do it. Cheers!

Comments: 1223 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

Mattt_MSI678 karma

Have you ever had any 'close calls' when you thought 'this is the end'?

Arclite83486 karma

There's a documentary on this where so many people die from wing suit accidents, they were interviewing a guy about it and he does a jump for the documentary... And crashes and nearly dies.

It's one of if not THE most dangerous sport. Easy to make simple mistakes even as a pro, and one wipe out can end you.

EDIT: Yes it's the Jeb Corliss one. There are plenty of cuts of it on YouTube, I can't find the exact one I watched.

getoffmydangle17 karma

There was a Stuff You Should Know podcast about BASE jumping and/or wingsuits and they reported that pretty much anyone who could be called a pioneer or founding member of this sport has already died doing it.

brendanweinstein18 karma

Death and risk is obviously more sexy. There is this weird paradigm where you see some jumpers embrace that narrative 110% and you see other jumpers over-embrace "it is safer than you think" narrative. I am a big proponent of being at peace with cognitive dissonance. I think you get more truths that way.

Alive and badass pioneers:

  • Loic Jean Albert
  • Miles Daisher
  • Jean Boenish
  • Rick Harrison
  • Dennis and Brenda McGlynn (and Jester, a legend in his own right who has undeniably done a fair amount of jumping under the infleunce)
  • Matt Gerdes and Mike Steen (founded Squirrel, opened countless exits)
  • Vincent Descols (opened Brevent and if you like long heli lines check his videos out. they are works of art)
  • Soul Flyers (every year they blow my mind)
  • David Walden (watch Dibona Magique possibly the most beautiful wingsuit short I've seen)
  • Ellen Brennan
  • Hartman Rector (he and Pat have been re-defining short start year after year)
  • Pat Walker
  • Trent Conroy (Lay Waste to the Sky and does a bunch of rad stuff no one knows about)
  • James Boole (opened countless exits, current athlete coordinator for WWL)
  • Robert Pecnik (founder of Phoenix Fly and flew in Dream Lines)
  • Jokke Sommer (Dream Lines)

The list above is heavily American biased and I came up with in a minute. I am leaving out a lot of great European jumpers.

brendanweinstein55 karma

"This is the end" -- no. Have I had some major mistakes that could have ended badly: yes.

Gonna give this a longer answer with some stories, but it's obviously a tougher one to address. Gotta put some thought into this, but I'll be real with you.

Sampharo239 karma

Saw your latest video from the mountainside in Switzerland. The incline of the mountain appears to be quite flat and you're flying consistently close to it. My question is: Were you at the edge of your suit's ability to keep you flying forward like that, and had to stick to an exact predetermined path along the topography? or did you have room to maneuver and change your diving angle of attack based on what you were seeing?

brendanweinstein132 karma

Nope. Whenever the wingsuit turns you bleed altitude and a little bit of speed, the turns are to pump to stay connected. If I were flying max performance, I'd be flying in a straight line and would have no flare power at the end.

We had flown this line 5 times before as a two way vertical stack formation. I fly at least 20mph slower on my back than on my belly, so I knew I could get stick right off the ground for everything except the very end where we never quite went as deep on the backs, and you see that is where I pull up 30-40ft there -- that and I really wanted to check out those houses at the end of the line more than following the stream.

We use Google Earth to map out lines ahead of time and then profile the required glide ratio in 500ft segments. Depending on what the estimated required glide is for the segments we'll fly anywhere from 50 to a few hundred feet above the line for the first go. We wear GPS devices on every jump and look primarily at how our horizontal speed and glide ratio vary through the flight. We overlay the data on a map and see what performance was for exact points on the flight, and map that out to what you were doing at that geographical feature in the flight. When I race, I'll use a live readout of glide ratio in my right ear. I know roughly what glide ratio my top speed is associated with for varying headwinds and tailwinds in each of my suits.

i_just_have_no_idea74 karma

I’m curious about this as well. Can a wing suit glider “pull up”?

brendanweinstein56 karma

One of the last projects I did in Switzerland was working to buzz a lake and fly up over a dam wall. The Mauvoisin dam is 100ft above the top of the lake on one side and 500ft above the ground on the other. I never got quite as low to the lake as I wanted. Because of the unique microclimate I took a very slow approach and did not rely heavily on past data.

I gradually built a mental model for the air around the dam by making small adjustments on each jump and aiming to jump only in wind conditions of 5kmh or less at the top of the dam. I started the hike up Le Pleureur every morning at 2:30-3:00am and jumped at roughly 8am each day -- I would adjust the jump time based on the multi-model forecast each morning and would check it every 2 hours on the hike up. At first I would only get on level with the dam if I had a tailwind or no headwind, eventually I shifted to tolerating a 5kmh headwind. I hiked up 12 times and hiked down 4 times. There was a day where I built a little rock fort at the top and slept in it intermittently throughout the day waiting for cloud cover to clear. If you ever hike up there, I hope you appreciate that :)

I started getting on level with the dam wall a few hundred feet before on the eighth jump, and had my best run with a slight tailwind on the tenth jump. Aborted even buzzing the dam wall on two flights based on perceived speed and mild turbulent bumps.

Flying up is an incredible feeling. There were some kids on the top of the dam one day who I saw at the local hotel. The reaction they had is still the one I have to flaring up: pure glee.

Will be putting out a video on that project in a few weeks.

rawker8615 karma

i was reading about two or three guys that died (it happens a bit) and the consensus on their particular accident was that they were flying so low that they were in a "no-pull" scenario, that is to say that they couldn't pull their chutes even if they wanted to because it would have been pointless. they just had to hope they'd make the ridge before they hit the deck (they didn't). my guess is if they had the capability to pull up significantly and save their asses, they'd do it. and there'd be a few less dead wingsuit folks.

brendanweinstein13 karma

While working on a project last summer we chatted with one of the guys who filmed from the ground when that happened, Reiner, who also is the same dude who crashed into trees and survived at Brevent 5-6 years ago with just a broken wrist and rib iirc. There's always a bit more to these stories that isn't reported in full detail out of respect to those involved. Needless to say, if you look at where they crashed, they were never meant to be on the part of the mountain -- was like a mandatory 3.5 iirc. Had they had the same suits we have today, all three probably would have survived by flaring up and pitching for their lives.

tangosurf146 karma

Does your family know what you’re doing, and did you leave a will?

brendanweinstein107 karma

Yes and yes.

tangosurf21 karma

Wonder how that dinner conversation went. Would you care to elaborate a bit more?

brendanweinstein15 karma

I was doing board and platform diving as a young kid. Begged to join the practices of a local high school team. They knew what was coming.

kwonza23 karma

Yeah, a did you get a life insurance or something?

brendanweinstein50 karma

have had corporate life insurance in the past with no issue even after full disclosures.

inshane_in_the_brain9 karma

Curious about this. Is there a special endorsement you were required to purchase and about what's the premium on it?

chiliedogg12 karma

I know my medical insurance won't cover extreme sports injuries.

I'm curious if his life insurance won't cover extreme sports deaths.

brendanweinstein36 karma

I highly recommend FFCAM -- it will cover you in the mountains around the world. The most difficulty I ever had was finding a plan to cover me for health+accident insurance for a trip to a BASE event in Turkey, and that is when I found FFCAM. I know of friends of friends who have had FFCAM successfully cover claims.

I do not currently have life insurance.

Chajos132 karma

with the name Weinstein had any weird moments lately because of harvey? :D

brendanweinstein236 karma

yeah, my uncle is kind of a weird guy

bmoorewiz87 karma

How can I join you for a jump? (Seriously)

I’m a pilot as well, if I can fly a plane, surely I can fly a wingsuit? J/k

brendanweinstein123 karma

Send me a DM and tell me where you are based -- always looking for pilots to partner with for backcountry missions.

robotfunkychicken60 karma

People don’t risk their lives by throwing themselves down mountains like this without mega-balls, and mega-passion. Are there any other areas of your life that inspire the same passion and will?

Sub-question: what are some things about this sport that the layman never hears about, but are commonly known by the participants?

brendanweinstein226 karma

first question: I led the android team at VSCO -- a photography company and social network -- for a year and half and poured myself into that job. I was laid off after getting charged with a felony for allegedly BASE jumping from the Hilton in downtown San Francisco., which goes to show how all-encompassing a passion BASE jumping can be. As part of the arrest, I had my phone confiscated as evidence for six months. I now fittingly do work for a privacy company called Keepsafe and lead development of the android app PhotoVault which lets you hide encrypted files on your phone in a number of clever ways. I am super passionate about that work -- we have some pretty cool projects in the pipeline. I almost joined the Nano dev team back in January, but decided to stay with Keepsafe, but am still passionate about Nano and a hodler. I am cautiously excited about the potential of crypto to solve problems around incentives. As a developer, I am eager to see some form of anonymous real identity token system. Would be especially great for communities like reddit and funding open source development.

second question: Pretty much everyone has hit a tree. I attended the World Wingsuit League in China for the first time last year. The first night at dinner with all the competitors at a round table, another competitor asked "hey Brendan, how many trees did you hit this summer?" The truth is I did not hit any trees that summer, but I paused because I knew it would be awkward if I said no and quite a few people would think I were a liar. And if I said yes, I would be lying and people would think I am a nutjob. While I was puzzling on what to say, the guy just stopped and said "ok ok ok raise your hand if you've hit a tree." Everyone at the table raised their hand.

drmcsinister106 karma

but am still passionate about Nano and a hodler

So you base jump and invest in crypto? You must really like the feeling of rapidly falling... :)

brendanweinstein15 karma


Shantanu_kadu42 karma

Where did you begin? How many bones did you break? If any

brendanweinstein67 karma

I started at Bay Area Skydiving just outside of San Francisco.

I had one hairine fracture in my wrist from a bad landing in skydiving. No broken bones or major injuries other than that. Many many PLFs though :)

theelous380 karma

plf? Jargon doesn't do well in AMAs.

brendanweinstein55 karma

It's good I wrote PLF because in my head that always stood for "planned landing fall," didn't realize it was "parachute landing fall."

DoYouKnowTheKimchi41 karma

If you absolutely had to choose, would you rather fly into a flock of horses the size of ducks, or a duck the size of a horse?

brendanweinstein32 karma

TBH I think I'd go for a sacrificial cow, and I am saying that as a man that loves cows.

donovan_rossa37 karma

You're 27 now. What do you reckon are the chances that you'll live to 30?

brendanweinstein10 karma

Talk is cheap, I'll bet money on living to 30.

$10k smart contract with death-based media verification oracle for one year time-span. Will gladly audit the contract and take on that wager if anyone wants to write it up.

ActualWhiterabbit34 karma

Do you ever think a big cat will jump up and get you when you fly down a mountain?

brendanweinstein21 karma

I would accept that BFL entry with honor.

tangosurf24 karma

How did you get into wingsuit flying, and do you plan to stop at some point?

brendanweinstein22 karma

I believe the first video I saw was of Loic Jean Albert sitting by the road at Bispen, Norway. Seeing a human fly by a road to me was an event on par with the Wright Brothers taking flight. I had always had an interest in skydiving, but when I saw the proximity flying videos that were floating around in 2009-2010, I was enraptured.

Alexander Polli's Reality of Human Flight blew my mind. I don't know how someone could watch that and not take up BASE jumping.

I imagined that wingsuit base jumping would be something that I could do alone and be completely content with life. And that turned out to be true. Now it's a lot more than that for me. My girlfriend, most of my closest friends, my community are people in human flight activities.

And as odd it as it might sound to some, I think being involved with wingsuit base or flying sports has had an impact for the best for most everyone I know. I hope to see more people in the skies in the coming years. When I think about giving back, I try to do so through fostering and growing that community: organizing events, mentoring, teach packing classes, developing tools.

I read about problems that a lot of young people have with depression, suicidal thoughts, etc and I get it. I have negative thoughts most when I am in the rat race working 9-5 in a city. When I've picked arbitrary goals that get me into nature, I am happy. It's like the doctor in The Plague pick out something that makes you feel good -- his case helping sick people -- and then make that your life's meaning.

I wrote above about a project I did for 3 weeks in Le Pleureur. I spent most of that time alone. I've cried out of happiness on the hikes up. My default state in nature -- staring at glaciers, a baby black rolling down the path -- is pure happiness. Having that knowledge that being alone in nature my default state is happy, re-learning this every time, I feel like I have a superpower.

Add in experiences where you depend on other people for a goal, and you're getting to the next level. There is a book I listened to last summer called Tribe by Sebastian Junger. He presents a narrative that cites research showing people's reported levels of self-happiness are higher after atrocities (eg Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, WWII). During WWII the British government expected there to be mass social unrest in response to the bombings -- instead they found the default state of humans was cooperating and coming together as a single, functioning unit to keep civilization moving forward. Apparently suicide rates plummet after events like 9/11 as well. The book is about soldiers with PTSD struggling to acclimate to the United States with the hypothesis that the biggest transitional difficulty is leaving a context where race/gender/social status/wealth matter less and the focus is more on the group than the individual.

In WS BASE, climbing, mountaineering, I think you get closer to that tribe-like state. I've cuddled fully geared up with a good friend trying to stay warm after running out of water and food trying to get to an exit point. I value that intimacy. What more can you ask for from a friend than knowing they'll share last bites of food and drops of water, keep their calm, and share their warmth with you. That's love.

I listened to a great story by a Vietnamese refugee on either The Moth or Snap Judgement a few weeks ago on the way up to Le Pleureur. She was telling the story of being abandoned with a bunch of other refugees on an Indonesian island with no food or basic resources. For days on end her main task was cleaning out a bucket of diarreah in the ocean to the best of her ability. The best part of the interview is when there is some disconnect between her and the interviewer, and the interviewer double takes "wait, do you miss being on the island?" and her response is something along the lines "I think about it all the time -- every sensation is heightened, everything is real." Her answer rang true to me.

I have no plans to stop flying. There are plenty of old wingsuit pilots, and if you fly cruisey, wingsuit base is a reasonably safe activity. Also, as an activity, wingsuit flying is fairly easy on the joints which makes it great for old age. I am in the minority opinion here -- even amongst jumpers -- but the numbers are starting to bear this reality. I can say from data from running BaseBeta and working with gear manufacturers that the active jumper population is growing while the number of fatalities each year has sharply declined as of the last two years.

Will I always fly technical projects? I have no idea. If I continue to have curiosities that I believe can be tackled with a safe, iterative approach: perhaps yes. I suspect as I get older I'll be more drawn to either mentoring youth, foreign aid work, or family. For now I am still a young guy. A good Swiss buddy of mine cancelled a bunch of alpine plans he had this winter to do volunteer work with the Kurds in Iraq. I could see myself going a similar route. He fucking loved it.

I was sad to see Valery Rozov pass away. He and the soul flyers are living proof you can push boundaries for decades with a level-headed approach, discipline, and training.

fistingbythepool14 karma

Is Jeb Corliss a cunt?

brendanweinstein33 karma

If you ask an Aussie

SirBennettAtx13 karma

Has he answered a single question yet?

brendanweinstein7 karma


man_mayo7 karma

What's your "Holy Grail" of flights?

brendanweinstein4 karma

Woo that's a tough one. Aiguille du Midi most likely. <- That's from Carlos Briceno. You get all of those lines from a gondola straight to the top, over 8000ft. One of the happiest days of my life was getting 5-6 jumps in at Aiguille. I think I smiled more than when I lost my virginity.

Pera_Espinosa5 karma

I'm 6'5" and about 230 lbs. Am I too big to ever try something like this?

brendanweinstein15 karma

Not at all. You may struggle to find someone to take you on a tandem and some indoor tunnels might turn you away, but you can just go straight to AFF training (training to be a solo licensed skydiver). That's the most fun anyhow.

Mynabird62 karma

My little brother has the same name! Does it bug you when people call you "Brandon?" He says it doesn't bother him, but I find myself correcting people sometimes

brendanweinstein3 karma

Yes, I think Brendan is a far better name.