ZNY Member Takes Passion to New Heights
Friday, February 04, 2011
NATCA member Justin Dailey started base jumping about five years ago, with just a year of skydiving experience under his belt. And, as we have come to learn, this nearly nine-year ZNY controller has never been one to turn down a challenge.
Base jumping remains a difficult hobby to pursue in the United States, as legal cliffs only exist in select locations – with Twin Falls (where he learned to base jump), New River Gorge Bridge and Royal Gorge Bridge being a few of Dailey’s favorites.
The number of jumpers that reside in the U.S. is a small one compared to that of Europe, where Dailey must travel to jump the higher legal jumps (above 1,000 feet) using his wing suit. In 2010 alone, Dailey made three trips to Switzerland, home to many high base jumps, for a combined total of almost five weeks and 82 wing suit base jumps.
|Currently, one of Dailey’s most enjoyable jumps is wing suit proximity flying, which is flying your wing suit only a few feet from the cliff or the ground, and is as hazardous as it gets. “The sport remains quite dangerous,” shares Dailey, who has lost multiple friends in the sport in the last five years. “It’s a constant reminder of how dangerous the sport really is and requires one to keep their ego and skill set in check at all times.”
Dailey’s personal reasons for this risky pastime in no doubt vary. Sometimes used as a stress reliever or merely for a thrill of an adrenaline rush, other times for a camaraderie with friends or simply for the peaceful and precise moment on a hike right
before stepping up to the edge – a feeling that remains indescribable to Dailey himself – the jumps result in a combination of emotions for Dailey that makes the challenge of balancing air traffic control hours with his adventure travel every bit worth it.
Want to see what it's like through Justin's eyes? Check out one of his base jumping videos here!