Gary Connery, a 42-year old stuntman made history with his wingsuit landing on the morning of Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Gary Connery, from Oxfordshire, jumped from a helicopter a mile above Henley-on-Thames in southern England and glided down using his wing suit to landing on 18,000 cardboard boxes used as a runway.
Before the jump down, Gary Connery said, “No-one’s ever done this before. So we don’t really know what’s going to happen but I’ve got every confidence in the boxes. This stunt will get great recognition and will be a post in the runway of aviation history. I’m sure plenty of people will think I’m bonkers but that’s OK, I take that as a compliment.” He added, “Now we have the green light, I can’t wait to go for it.”
To prepare for the stunt, Gary Connery underwent weeks of intensive training in Switzerland and Italy by jumping from mountains and cliffs to perfect his wing suit gliding.
After 880 skydives, Gary Connery made the jump out of the helicopter without a parachute. Travelling at 80mph in his wingsuit before slowing down to a gliding speed of 50mph. Finally reaching falling speed of 15mph in the seconds before his landing on 18,600 cardboard boxes, 350 feet long, 50 feet wide and 12 feet had been constructed for him, nearly a mile from the jump site.
“I’m overwhelmed. I am in a strange zone at the moment. It is an amazing feeling. I feel incredible, just completely elated,” he told the people on the ground. “It was an amazing feeling. I am so choked with the turnout. It was so comfortable and so soft. I got my calculations absolutely right. There was a bit of turbulence and I experienced a lot of bouncing, but the landing was comfortable and soft. These suits are amazing. And are they dangerous? Absolutely no! Do I look hurt?”
Gary Connery made the jump with his family watching. Connery’s wife Vivienne, his two children Lydia, 19 and Kali, 15, his brother John, his father Chris, and his (slightly exasperated) mother, Hazel.
“He was a stuntman from the age of five,” his mother said recalling various incidents from Connery’s youth. “If you told him something was impossible, he’d insist on proving you wrong.”
Connery’s wife Vivienne, greeted him with a kiss and bottle of champagne once he reached the ground and said she was “relieved it’s all over.”
Gary Connery added, “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.”