FAA denies wingsuit flyer permission to jump during Cardinals game

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by KMOV.com staff and Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM

ST. LOUIS—A wingsuit flyer who has gained YouTube fame for spectacular stunts and planned to soar over downtown St. Louis on Friday was denied permission by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Alexander Polli, 28, planned to jump from a plane at 4,000 feet near Busch Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday, about an hour before the Cardinals host the Atlanta Braves.

He was scheduled to wear a wingsuit, an aerodynamic jumpsuit that makes the wearer look like a winged superhero and soar for long distances before opening a parachute.

But citing safety reasons, the FAA did not give approval and contacted Polli to tell him he had been denied authorization.

Spokeswoman Meghan Spork said Polli would have reached speeds of 140 mph as he did stunts such as flips during the three-minute flight over downtown.

Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, initially said the jump could not take place directly over the ballpark, which is protected airspace.

Polli has an international following for his stunts. In April he flew through a small hole in a rock formation on the side of a Spanish mountain, and a video has generated nearly 10 million views on YouTube.

The St. Louis stunt was sponsored by SceneTap, a mobile app for the nightlife scene, and is part of its launch.

Federal authorities take a hard line against any stunts involving the Arch, dating to 1965, just before the monument opened. Still, some have disobeyed.

Parachutists have also illegally used the Arch. In 1980, Kenneth Swyers landed on the monument and had planned to base jump from it, but the wind knocked him to his death before the second parachute could open. In 1992, John Vincent used suction cups to climb the Arch and successfully parachuted off it. He was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors.

 

Wingsuit jumping also has its risks. Earlier this month, jumper Mark Sutton, 42, died when he crashed into a rocky ridge in the Alps in Switzerland. Sutton gained fame when he parachuted into London’s Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics dressed as James Bond.

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