Ex-Chilean pilot becomes first person to fly in active volcano

0
15
Ex-Chilean pilot becomes first person to fly in active volcano

It was lava at first sight for this adrenaline junkie.

Sebastián “Ardilla” Álvarez, a former Chilean Air Force pilot and wingsuit daredevil whose nickname means “Squirrel,” recently became the first person to fly in and out of an active volcano, CNN reported.

Dramatic video posted by Red Bull shows the 36-year-old accomplishing the death-defying feat late last month at Villarrica, a volcano in Chile that the indigenous Mapuche have dubbed “the Devil’s House.”

“Everything started because I had the dream of flying,” Álvarez told CNN. “Since I was a kid, I just wanted to fly — and somehow, I made it happen.”

The thrill-seeker jumped out of the chopper at an altitude of almost 2.2 miles and reached speeds of about 180 mph as he flew into and out of the 656-foot-wide crater of the dangerous volcano.

“This is by far the most extreme project I’ve ever done,” Álvarez told the news outlet. “That’s for sure. Especially because of all of the factors — it was an active volcano, it was at high altitude, cold, windy and so there were a lot of things that I needed to take care of.

Sebastian Alvarez trained for two years in order to perfectly fly in and out of the active volcano.
Sebastian Alvarez trained for two years in order to perfectly fly in and out of the active volcano.
Jean Louis de Heeckeren/Red Bull
Sebastián "Ardilla" Álvarez reached speeds of about 180 mph as he flew into and out of the 656-foot-wide crater.
Sebastián “Ardilla” Álvarez reached speeds of about 180 mph as he flew into and out of the 656-foot-wide crater.
Mediadrumimages/Jona­than Gibbs

“Mentally, it was to me really hard because, again, my mind doesn’t want to be there, but you need to kind of force it to make it happen. I really enjoy doing these projects because I really like to push the sport a little bit more,” he added.

It took Álvarez more than a year to prepare for the stunt, which required 500 practice jumps to perfect the technique of flaring to achieve the proper vertical and horizontal speeds to make it in and out of the chasm.

“The preparation for this was all my life, pretty much, it’s been all my life,” he said. “You need to be a skydiver, a base jumper and if you are a pilot, even better. All the paths [I’ve taken] came together.

According to Sebastian Álvarez, it took 500 practice jumps to perfect the technique.
According to Sebastian Álvarez, it took 500 practice jumps to perfect the technique.
Jean Louis de Heeckeren/Red Bull
Sebastián "Ardilla" Álvarez is a former Chilean Air Force pilot who became the first person to jump into the still active
Sebastián “Ardilla” Álvarez is a former Chilean Air Force pilot who became the first person to jump into the still active
Jean Louis de Heeckeren/Red Bull

“Even if you train for two years but you’ve not been skydiving before, it’s never going to be possible. So it was a lifetime of preparation,” Álvarez said about the three-minute flight.

“I cannot express how happy this makes me feel. But it does, you know, and I think that’s what life is about. I mean, you need to do what makes you happy,” he added.

Source link