This is the type of video you have to see to believe — and never attempt to re-create. Earlier this summer, 43-year-old Air France pilot, paraglider, and speed flyer Arnaud Longobardi took to the skies over the Mont Blanc Massif in the French alpine town of Chamonix and successfully flew straight into the open doors of a moving cable car.
The video, released by EpicTV, shows footage of Longobardi as he jumps off the side of a mountain at over 12,270 feet, flies at speeds reaching 50 mph, and guides himself through the doors of the tram with the cool of an alpine-adventurer version of James Bond. Unlike that scene in Moonraker where James Bond fights Jaws at Sugarloaf Mountain, there is no green screen here.
The stunt was comprised of many critical components, from wind speed and direction affecting Longobardi’s flight to the fact that the cable car was only about 500 feet above the ground. If the wing of his flight suit had collapsed and Longobardi went into a spin before entering the door, he would need a minimum of 260 feet to open his reserve parachute and carry out emergency maneuvers. But Longobardi, planned for everything.
“I had been thinking about this flight every day for a full year before I did it,” said Longobardi in an EpicTV report. “I thought through all the challenges — speed, angle, and height — all the different scenarios, from the take off to the approach to the landing. When I was about 200 meters from the cable car, I had to reduce my speed to [21 mph] so I didn’t fly through the cable car. [It was] a tricky piece of skill that could have resulted in me stalling and potentially missing the car.”
Longobardi and his crew pulled off the stunt, despite one heart-skipping moment in the clip when he is nearly pulled out of the tram by his parachute when it caught wind after landing. But in the end, his friends were able to secure him with carabiners as he raised his arms in triumph.
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