The Red Bull Skydive Team partnered with the Blanix Glider Team in the skies over Austria.
A five-man squadron of jet powered wingsuit flyers set off in hot pursuit of two Blanix gliders cruising 12,000 feet above the ground. The skydivers then inched their way towards the aircraft before flying along side by side at speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour.
"Normally the idea is to stay as far away as possible from other flying objects. Instead, we headed straight for them. We were even able to look the pilots straight in the eye. I've still got goosebumps," explained Red Bull Skydive Team leader Paul Steiner, who played a major role in planning and coordinating the unique stunt requiring eleven people and seven aircraft.
"The gliders are constantly moving around," added Georg Lettner an experienced member of the Red Bull Skydive Team. "It was definitely scary at times, but looking back it was an unbelievable experience. There are few things better than being able to look a pilot right in the eye as you fly alongside him."
While the risks of the mission were plain, pilot Ewald Roithner said a lot of preparation had gone in to making the stunt happen. "None of us are adrenaline junkies. We're all just guys who are looking for challenges to make our lives more intense. The secret is to prepare everything very carefully so that you can push the limits without going too far. It's all about professional planning, conscientious training and absolute trust."
"Never before have humans and aircraft flown this close in formation. It is the first performance of its kind in the world," said a proud Steiner, who promises the next daredevil project is just around the corner: "Somewhere deep down the next idea is already brewing," grinned the Austrian.