Jokke Sommer and Ludovic Woerth just flew in from Rio de Janeiro, and boy, are their arms tired. But the point is they still have arms: When you're wingsuit-flying through the vertical labyrinth of a megacity, keeping hold of one's limbs is never a sure deal.
The pair of extreme sports enthusiasts – Sommer from Norway, Woerth from France – detached from gliders far above the city and made a beeline for central Rio at a time of morning when the streetlights were still gleaming. That was by design, as Sommer explains: "We did not have permission to fly into the city, but to respect the commercial air traffic we did the jump 05:45 in the morning. The first flights arrive at 06:05."
Either their visors misted up or the air that day was foggy (video from the landing zone suggests the latter), because soon enough the human hawks were zooming inside a feijoada-thick blur that must've made it hard to see incoming buildings. That was a crucial impairment, as they planned to fly right through a narrow crack in an skyscraper near the Praça Tiradentes.
Did they make it? To say "barely" would probably be insulting their well-honed skill sets, but they do seem to come close to scraping off a few dozen pounds of themselves on the building's windows. It's a thrilling flight, either way.
It's hard to believe, but this kind of thing has happened in Rio before. In 2009, two fruitbats on a wingsuit flight almost shaved the armpit hairs off of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue.