“3-2-1 DREAM” - Chris Byrnes, pictured here in 2022If you were lucky enough to meet Chris Byrnes AKA The Green Flying Dude, you’d know that his positivity was infectious. His recent passing was sad news for the skydiving community, but we know that when he crossed over, he was doing what he called ‘frothin’ to the coffin’ and yes, those were his exact words! In a recent video tribute, Chris described his flying experiences as ‘pure joy, being in the mountains, being with my friends and being able to perform at the cutting edge of the discipline I am completely and utterly passionate about.’ Chris collaborated with Manufactory a few months ago when he was recently introduced to the Indoor Wingsuit Tunnel and whether this will be as progressive for the disciplines as Tunnel has been for Freeflying and Flatflying. At the time, the accomplished International Champion and World Record Holder had just finished training in Sweden with Espen Fadnes, Amber Forte and Dani Roman. We hope you enjoy these special insights from the late Chris Byrnes who will forever be a source of total inspiration and beautiful energy.
Q: Have you done Tunnel before freeflying or flatflying?A: Yes I have done around 10 hours in the vertical tunnel over the past few years in Australia. Just working on freeflying with a fair bit of head up and getting a little progress with head down.
Q: What are the intervals like in a wingsuit tunnel - are they still 2min at a time?A: In the wingsuit tunnel it is usually 2, 10 minute blocks of flying each half hour. Each 10 minutes is usually split into 4, 2.5 minute intervals. Swapping with the other person who has the other 10 minute block. So 2.5 minutes flying then 2.5 minutes rest and then back in. After 10 minutes flying it can be quite a workout. I would recommend a maximum of 1 hour flying per day. But 40 minutes spread out over the day I think is the best for maximising your learning without getting too tired.
Q: Did it help having as much wingsuit experience as you have? Could you do it with less?A: For me it felt like learning to fly a wingsuit all over again. You start off in a small wingsuit wearing a harness underneath and are connected to a system of ropes and pulleys to stop you from flying into the walls. An instructor stands in the tunnel in a freefly suit giving instructions and helping to master the basics of safety in the tunnel and basic movements before coming off the ropes. After the ropes you wear a climbing harness under the wingsuit attached to a leash so that the instructor can help stop you from flying into the walls but you have more freedom and control. Then you are set free and can progress flying solo or with the instructor flying beside you in their wingsuit. You can learn to fly in the wingsuit tunnel with no prior experience at all. For myself, going in the tunnel for the first time, but with over 2000 wingsuit flights between skydiving and BASE, it felt like learning to fly a wingsuit all over again. Flying in a confined space and without a rig it really helps you tune in fine movements and control. I really unlocked my shoulders and felt like I learned to fly my body within the wingsuit a lot better. Having the reference with the tunnel walls gives you direct feedback as to what movements work or don't work to achieve what you are trying. It really helped me to quieten my body movements and fly a lot smoother and more controlled. The wingsuit tunnel is an amazing machine. The whole flight chamber is on a big hydraulic ram so the angle of the tunnel can be changed from a glide ratio of 1.6 in small increments all the way to a flatter glide of 2.4. Also the rpm of the fan can be adjusted so you can fly at lower or higher windspeeds. This gives an amazing opportunity to really dial in your wingsuit flying by learning to fly at different speeds and angles.
“Everybody in the world can share connections through positivity and passion.” - Chris Byrnes, pictured here with Espen Fadnes, Amber Forte and Dani Roman.