Watch Daring ‘Speed Flyers’ Race Down an Active Volcano
Speed flying is a high adrenaline blend of paragliding and skiing. As outlandish and exceedingly risky as this sport might sound, for some people it just isn’t enough.
Flying down a mountain at speeds between 50-100 mph doesn’t bring the thrills it used to, so some of the adventurers practicing this sport have upped the ante. There’s always room for a bit more danger in life, right? And really, what could be more treacherous than racing down the face of Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna?
That’s right, were talking about lava flows, smoke, snow, ice, skis and paragliders. On the Italian island of Sicily, two Italian daredevils, who also happen to be top-notch speed flyers, have just set about the mind-blowing task of hurling themselves down the very unpredictable Mount Etna. This famous volcano has erupted quite a few times over the past few years, and four times this year so far. The mountain shows absolutely no sign of simmering down as well.
The speed flying team ascended the volcano with the help of mountaineering guides, and then prepared to race down the face from the summit. Mount Etna clocks in at about 11,000 feet, so the vertical climb up, not to mention the rapid descent down, is nothing to sneeze at.
Jody Barratin and Felice Boccanegra can now claim the bragging rights to being the first people to sail down the face of Etna. The men and the mountaineers who led their team to the top of the volcano had to wait for picture-perfect weather and mountain conditions before making the flying attempt. Due to the mountain’s notorious volatility, they had to study Etna for some time to find a day when it wasn’t likely to erupt, and when the skies were clear.
When Jody Barratin reached the top of Etna, and was getting ready to sail down, he said, "You can smell the smoke, you can smell the volcano. You can feel it, you can listen to the noise." He also talked about how even though this was a dangerous stunt, he knew that he was in very “safe hands.”
Speed flying is an extreme sport, and should only be done by those who really know what they are doing. That having been said, if you have the time and the skill and you want to race down the face of a mountain with skis and a paragliding sail, then maybe this sport is for you. Of course, you might want to up your insurance for all of the broken bones that are likely to come.