Man dives 730m — without a parachute

A stuntman has become the first person to jump out of a helicopter and land without using a parachute.

Gary Connery, 42, used a special “wingsuit” to make the death-defying leap 731m above the fields of Oxfordshire, the first time anybody has successfully jumped from such a height without deploying a parachute.

The adrenaline junkie, who has performed stunts in Hollywood films including Indiana Jones, Batman Begins, and The Beach, helped develop the suit, which enables him to glide through the air.

After jumping out of the helicopter, Connery accelerating to speeds of around 129km/h as his wingsuit came in to play.

The short flight ended with him landing on a specially made “runway” of 18,600 boxes.

Before carrying out the flight in countryside near his home in Henley-on-Thames, Connery said he was “100% confident” he would be successful.

Connery, who had to wear a parachute for the jump due to safety rules, was celebrating with champagne minutes later.

He landed to cheers from thousands of people and was met by his wife Vivienne.

He said: “I feel incredible, just completely elated.

“I have been training and planning for this record attempt for many years now and I am so proud to have achieved a world first.

“I want to thank everyone involved for their support and belief in me because this really has been a team effort.

“Tonight will be all about celebrating with friends and family, tomorrow I will be plotting my next daring challenge.”

Connery, who has carried out BASE jumps from landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Nelson’s Column, and the London Eye, has concentrated on wingsuit jumps since discovering them eight years ago.

He has carried out more than 880 skydives and 450 BASE jumps since becoming a paratrooper when he was in his 20s.

“I am in a strange zone at the moment. It is an amazing feeling.

“I feel incredible, just completely elated.

“I am so choked with the turnout. It was so comfortable and so soft. I got my calculations absolutely right. There was some turbulence.”

His wife, 45, added: “I am just so relieved it is all over.”


Kim Sheehan is an opera singer from Crosshaven, Co Cork, and is this year’s recipient of the Jane Anne Rothwell Award from Cork Midsummer Festival.A Question of Taste: Cork opera singer, Kim Sheehan

Developed in Ireland by Dublin-based indie gaming house Dreamfeel, If Found follows university graduate Kasio as she returns to Achill, Co Mayo, from the big city.'If Found': a story of belonging from the Irish videogame scene

B-Side the Leeside: Cork's Greatest Records - Giordaí Ua Laoghaire tells Don O’Mahony about the offbeat outfit who created some of the most innovative music on the Irish scene in the 1990sB-Side the Leeside: Nine Wassies from Bainne - A quirky slice of creativity

More time indoors is a chance to consider how we buy for our homes without being slaves to fleeting trends, writes Carol O’CallaghanMore time at home offers a chance to consider how we buy for our interiors

More From The Irish Examiner