BFL301 | 17.8.2016

Uli Emanuele

from Italy30 years

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  • Date & Time: 17.8.2016
  • Location: Black line, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
  • Category: BASE Fatality
  • Object Type: Earth
  • Cause Of Death: Impact in terminal freefall
  • Clothing - Suit: Jedei 3 TTExpert Wingsuit by Tony suits
  • Canopy: Unknown
  • Container: Unknown
  • Packing & Setup: Slider Up BOC Vertical
  • Weather: Sunny, Winds light and variable
  • Possible Factors: Proximity flying

What do we believe happened?

Uli was performing a 3 way wingsuit flight from the black line exit. Weather conditions were good. The brief was to turn right after exit flying parallel to the wall, in a loose stair-step formation to the left of the base. The exit was clean, Uli exited 2nd after the base with the 3rd flyer following after.
The base flyer initiated a 50 degree right turn towards Lauterbrunnen, flying parallel to the wall at a safe distance (20 - 30m).
Uli made a good start and followed the base. About 10 seconds into the flight he was approximately 10m directly over the top of the base.
At this point Uli swept his arm wings probably in an attempt to dive down to the base but without success.
He then slid left approximately 10m and initiated a radical 90 degree right turn towards the base. He immediately began to straighten his trajectory to be parallel with the base but appeared to misjudge his closing speed.
The base saw Uli arriving from their left at high speed and the base flared to try to avoid the collision.
Uli passed under the base on head level and there was light contact between the jumpers left feet. As Uli passed under the base he closed his right arm wing and bent his right leg, probably in preparation for the collision, which in the end was mild.
Uli's body position put the suit in to a hard diving right turn directly towards the wall, he struggled to regain control of the suit in a near vertical position but impacted the wall a few seconds later.
In the previous jumps Uli had commented on having difficulty diving down to the base and how he often used an 'S' turn to lose altitude.
The base was flying a smaller class suit (Scorpion) compared to Uli (Jedei 3) which likely contributed to the level issues.
Uli had around 60 BASE jumps on the suit in question, over 2000 BASE jumps total and was current.
He was regarded as one of the best wingsuit pilots in the world, opening some of the most technical short start exits to date as well as flying through a 3m metal ring and a 2m cave. Whilst we can never be 100% sure of Uli's intention it would seem he chose a non-standard technique to lose altitude and executed the maneuver too aggressively.


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