Science

Electric wingsuit soared into record books

Skydiver Peter Salzmann discusses the efforts that earned him the record as the world's first human flight powered by an electric wingsuit.

The sport of wingsuit flying has soared in the last decade, with daredevils pushing the boundaries of how we define human flight.  Austrian Peter Salzmann soared right over those boundaries in late 2020 in his electrified wingsuit.

"I still get a big smile when I think about the first time when I switched it on," Salzmann told CNET in January. "I really felt, 'Whoa, it's really working!'"  

Salzmann, a seasoned skydiver, teamed up with BMWi to design a chest-mounted propulsion system for his wingsuit. Lithium batteries power two carbon fiber rotors that provide up to five minutes of thrust, and Salzmann can activate the system in the air to increase his speed and push him to higher altitudes. Salzmann, who's also a BASE jumper (which means he's been known to parachute off tall things like cliffs and bridges), controls the power by bending two fingers on his left hand.

Watch the video above to see his record flight, which was verified by Guinness World Records.