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Wingsuits Out the Bomb Bay Doors of a B-17

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Richard Ryan of FullMag dons a wingsuit and jumps out the bomb bay doors of a B-17 Flying Fortress, in a video sponsored by the US Air Force. The video shows the bomb bay doors opening slowly, as Richard prepares to jump.

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The B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine bomber with variants that use 30 and 50-caliber machine guns mounted in multiple locations throughout the aircraft, including the nose, tail and belly. The firearms give the plane a very unique look. Its 412-horsepower engines give it a ceiling of around 35,000 feet in the air, a top speed of 287 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 150 miles per hour.

Today, it remains a symbol of America’s air power throughout World War II, thanks to its durability and the fame it achieved by the likes of the Memphis Belle, and others.

This demo is a flyby in a wingsuit with the American flag. Commercial skydiving isn’t without its risks, but when doing a demo jump, there are many different variables to take into consideration. The B-17 provides unique challenges to exit out the bomb bay doors, as the narrow space between the bomb racks make it so that Richard and company have to jump while making sure the rigs or suits don’t snag or catch on anything.

The largest concern is the machine gun on the belly. They have to make sure the aircraft speed is slow enough to allow them to exit before the suits are pressurized, so that they don’t strike the gun. There’s a safety brief in place before the actual jump, and Richard says he actually has doubts as he and the team get into the plane.

The B-17 takes off, and the camera angles from inside show the altitude they’re at. The guys get ready to jump as the plane soars over what appears to be a city, progressing to some fields. At the five minute mark, the bomb bay doors begin to open, and the first jumper drops, quickly followed by the rest.

The wingsuits deploy, and the guys cruise, showing an awesome view of the Earth below, before parachutes carrying the American flag flip open and cruise the guys along. Angles from the wingsuit helmet cameras showcase just how high they’re at, and the incredible sensation of flying.

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