Play Safe

Considering strapping on a pair of wings and taking the plunge? Justin warns us that safety comes first. “Wingsuit flying can be done safely. Wingsuit BASE jumping [jumping off a fixed object] has a higher mortality rate, as more and more people try to become proximity flyers (flying next to cliffs and mountains). At Flock University, you must have 200 skydives before starting training in wingsuit flying.”

Gear up! Pay up!

If you’re considering a wingsuit for your next costume ball, think again. Justin tells us “each wingsuit consists of approximately 70 parts and takes two days to sew together.  Average wingsuit cost is around $1200 dollars, with higher-end suits going all the way up to $1600. A large wingsuit weighs in at 3-4 lbs.”

Flying 101

For those physics whizzes interested in the aerodynamics of controlling a wingsuit at over 100 mph, Justin explains, “Our wingsuits have a larger top skin than bottom. The air particles split when meeting the leading edge of a wing. This then forces the air particles on top to move faster than the particles on the bottom, creating lift.”


Tune in to both the History Channel and the Science Channel, where Justin recently suited up for special skydiving episodes. What does he say to those who claim his profession is somewhat “irresponsible”?  “Nothing. I have the best job in the world.”



Super Man


Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane...


It isn't Superman. It's better than Superman. Justin Shorb is a super real man. He flies though the air at 150 miles per hour wearing a piece of clothing that transforms him from a man into a bird. Super crazy? You could argue that.  

So how does a sweet kid from Powell, Wyoming, go from playing baseball to risking his life dozens of times a day? He observed his first skydive on a whim with a good friend when he was 17 years old. His friend never jumped; Justin was hooked. For most, jumping out of a plane is a kooky adventure —  intense! Terrifying! Awesome! --  and one-time-only, thank you. But Justin wasn’t scared at all. He never felt so alive before in his life. The heart-attack speed of the freefall, the feeling of floating in a parachute, the stark reality that the ground was 13,000 feet below and that human or technical error could snuff him out — what a rush. 

He survived, and learned that skydiving was safer statistically than driving to the supermarket. (Roughly 35 out of two million skydivers die every year.) And flying was a helluva lot more fun. He started jumping all the time, getting 3,700 jumps under his belt by the time he was 24. Then he saw a dude slice through the air in a wingsuit. It made his parachute look like a lollipop. 

He tried the suit on. Pros call it a “squirrel suit” because it’s shaped like a flying squirrel. Justin pushed his arms into the sleeves and spread them out to the full seven-foot wingspan. He knew he wouldn’t be wearing much else out of a plane anytime soon. 

Four years later, Justin has traveled all over South America, Europe, Canada, and the United States as a wingsuit instructor. Locally, he teaches out of Jumptown USA and Skydive Pepperell. He regularly performs in wingsuit flying demonstrations and recruits folks to skydive. (Full disclosure: The Boldfacers team skydived with him in Jumptown in one of the most hair-raising, fabulous experiences of our lives.) The father of two has been filmed for the History Channel and the Science Channel, and there’s talk of consulting on a Batman film. As for the dangers of his everyday life, Justin is insouciant. Dying is part of living, he says; it could happen to you today. To him, it’s super logical.