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NEED TO KNOW
Have a great Bridge Day. Please read be sure to read the event rules.Important Info
How can BASE jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge get even more exciting, you ask?
Try launching the jumpers 50 feet out off the Bridge. Yes, the 2012 Bridge Day Festival will feature a human catapult that will do just that. Its being thoroughly tested right now and will be ready come Bridge Day 2012.
The catapult will only be available for 20 jumpers, and those jumpers will have to be highly experienced to even be considered. That’s 250+ BASE jumps just to put your name on the list. Coordinators are still looking at how the 20 slots will be sold.
Why the heck a catapult?
Jason Bell owns Vertical Visions, the company that coordinates Bridge Day BASE jumping. He also happens to be a mechanical engineer. Jason is always looking to improve the sport of BASE jumping. He has already brought two of his special projects to Bridge Day: in 2003, the diving board system, and in 2004, the launch platform. He says most BASE jumpers would agree a catapult is the ultimate in launch platforms.
Jason got the idea of a launching device several years ago while watching a video of a catapult used in Switzerland. His catapult has been over 2 years in the making. Much of his free time has been spent designing and testing the system so it will be ready to go come October.
Not A First
This catapult will not be the first time someone has been launched off the New River Gorge Bridge. Back in the early 1990′s, a stuntman wearing a parachute was part of an attempt to launch from the Bridge into a cargo net being towed by an airplane. Sounds easy, right? Well, the stunt was never successful but the concept was born.
The Vertical Visions catapult is much like the one many of you have seen if you’ve watched the ABC show “Wipeout.”
Safety is Number One
Safety will be the most important aspect of this new system, for both jumpers and spectators alike. Hard fencing will surround the system, and only those trained in using this device will be allowed around the catapult.
The BASE jumpers that are selected to use the catapult will go through additional briefings and trainings on the dynamics of the launch equipment. Numerous other safety procedures dealing with the components and operation of the system will also be in place.
Bridge Day just gets bigger and better every year, and 2012 is no different. This catapult should make watching these BASE jumpers, from the top or from below, even more exciting.
Would you like to be catapulted off the Bridge?