Red Bull Skydive Team l Project Mega Swing l Possibly the longest swing in the world up in the air l Unique stunt with two hot-air balloons l 125-metre rope l Record in sky over Austria to be approved
No playground is complete without a swing. There can barely be anyone who didn’t go on a swing as a child – and while they might seem like simple devices, they provide unforgettable first experiences of adrenaline racing through the veins. The first time most of us get the feeling of flying through the air is on a swing. That’s how the four members of the Red Bull Skydive Team remember it, anyway. The four aerial acrobats have produced breathtaking shows to light up the skies over the past few years. After all the successful projects they have put on together, there was a wish to go back to their roots with a special stunt – and make for the possibly world’s longest swing. The Red Bull Skydive Team has come together with two hot-air balloons and 125 metres of rope for the Mega Swing project, which isn‘t just creating some spectacular images but also might be a record!
Back to their roots – in sensational style. When the Red Bull Skydive Team are putting on their breathtaking shows, there tends to be crowds of people below with their heads arched back and murmurs of amazement running through the masses as the amazing spectacle unfolds in the sky. Dominic Roithmair, Georg Lettner, Marco Waltenspiel and Marco Fürst create plenty of spectacular images in the air that the amazed spectators remember as they push the limits of what is possible. As part of their continual search for new ideas for their outrageous stunts, the quartet of aerial acrobats decided in the summer of 2016 to return to where their passion for flying came from. Marco Waltenspiel sums it up by saying: “Everyone knows what it’s like on the swing at the playground. You swing as hard as you can and jump off. We wanted to do the same, but on a much bigger scale.”
Ideal partners in hot air balloon experts. Project Mega Swing is obviously something that requires some absolute pros along with a number of the best skydivers in the world. It was clear from the start that a hot air balloon would be the ideal aircraft for the plan. Being able to pilot a balloon that is going to swing in what may be the longest swing in the world takes a huge amount of experience. The Red Bull Skydive Team found perfect partners in this regard with the experts of Pink Klatovy. After intensive planning and preparations with the equipment, the skydivers and their aerial chauffeurs took part in a test run in summer 2016 in superb weather conditions. Between a height of 1,500 and 2,000 metres, one balloon served as an anchor for the swing, while the skydivers jumped from a second balloon. Marco Waltenspiel describes Mega Swing by saying: “It’s all about the right timing and jumping. When the rope is perfectly tout, so that you swing nicely forward, then it’s just perfect.”
Childhood dream of a giant swing fulfilled. All four Red Bull Skydivers were thrilled in the test run of the giant swing, and had the same sparkle in their eyes of a child going on a swing in the playground for the first time. Dominic Roithmair, who coined the idea, describes swinging on probably the longest swing ever as follows: “You accelerate in a completely different direction to what you get in normal base or parachute jumping. You jump down, fall and wait for the moment when the pressure kicks in. Then after a few seconds you go forward with a non-motorised acceleration, which gives you an unbelievable feeling. I can’t recall any freefall that has such different patterns of movement.” Following a few attempts, the perfect swing with a length of 125 metres was pulled off above Austria – currently seeking to verify the record! Dominic Roithmair says: “The great thing was that you don’t have any off-putting noise. Unlike in a plane, it’s silent in a balloon, you swing out and it starts to swoosh. After the swing it’s quiet again until the noise starts up again.” He smiles when adding: “We’ve fulfilled our childhood dreams of going on a giant swing!”
Comprehensive image and video material on the Mega Swing project is available on www.redbullcontentpool.com for free editorial use.