(Photo by Armando Oquendo)

Base Jumping 101: 11 Questions With Wingsuit Pilot Carlos Pedro Briceño

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Skillset: At what age did you get the itch to start falling out of airplanes and jumping off cliffs?

Carlos Briceño: Since I was a kid, I always wanted to fly. But when I was 18 and I told my mother that I wanted to skydive, she said no way. She was not going to help me with any money to do it. So, after I finished my bachelor’s degree in business management in Australia, I got my first job as a cost controller on an oil company project in Venezuela. It was then, when I got enough money to go for it, that I did my first skydive. Since then, I haven’t stopped ― ah! For the record, that job lasted only three and a half years, and that was my first and last job as a cost controller or anything to do with business management.

Skillset: With over 5,000 skydives and 500 BASE jumps, have you had any major injuries?

Carlos Briceño: Those numbers have changed to 9,000 and 800. Nothing major, normal hard landings sometimes ― thank God!

The worst accident I’ve ever had was getting hit by a car riding my bicycle.

Skillset: Tell us about the most beautiful place in the world you’ve jumped?

Carlos Briceño: Well, every place has its own beauty, so for me it is hard to say which is the most beautiful. I have jumped in places that are breathtaking, such as Norway, France, Brazil and Switzerland, among others. But I can say that Angel Falls (the highest waterfall in the world), which is located in my country of Venezuela, is very, very special. That place has more energy than any other for me. It is the most beautiful place in my country, and in the top five in the world, for sure.

Skillset: Walk me through what goes through your mind when you’re wing-suit terrain-flying only a few feet above treetops?

Carlos Briceño: I am 100 percent in the present ― what’s going through my mind is only what is happening in that precise moment. On the other hand, I am very relaxed, focused on my line, and feeling my speed.

After I land, I just want to do it again!

Skillset: Extreme skillsets can bring extremely close calls. Tell us about the scariest situation you’ve ever been in.

Carlos Briceño: When I had about eight BASE jumps, I was in Riglos, Spain, on the first BASE-jumping trip of my life. On one particular jump, it was very windy by the time I reached the exit point. Because I had relatively little experience in the sport, I didn’t know how bad the wind was. Anyway, I decided to jump, and my parachute opened facing horizontally instead of vertically, and I had a line twist.

The chute was rushing toward the wall and I was facing the opposite way, so I had to untwist myself to control the chute.

By the time I regained control, I was facing the wall about 10 feet from it. I had only one second to turn the chute before crashing into the wall. I managed to do it without hurting myself, but it was a very intense and scary moment, and I thought that I was going to crash, for sure.

Dimitrios Knotigas Photo Credit

Skillset: Why do BASE jumpers sometimes do a low pull? Explain to our readers that last-second rush and why you do it.

Carlos Briceño: Sometimes a low pull depends on the jump. If you are jumping from a 200-foot tower, you are already low. However, I have to say that sometimes it’s done for fun, but it has to be in the right conditions and in the perfect location ― with an open field and not many objects that you could crash into. It gives you that extra rush, for sure! 

Skillset: Do you find that you’re now numb to adrenaline? I mean, what would give me a heart attack is probably calming for you!

Carlos Briceño: I still feel fear, and I think that adrenaline and fear go together. But any new jump will get me pumped for sure ― or something crazy that I’m not familiar with.

Skillset: Bridges, cliffs or buildings? Which are the most fun?

Carlos Briceño: Buildings are super fun; I like them a lot, but mountains allow me to fly my wingsuit, which is really fun, as well. Ultimately, it all depends on the feature I’m jumping off and on the line that I can do.

Skillset: I know you use GoPros for first-person footage, but the footage taken of you is just over the top. Is it more dangerous for you or the cameraman following you?

Carlos Briceño: Yeah, the cameraman has to be a ninja. He has to fly my line and trust me 100 percent. Meanwhile, he is dealing with my burble, the turbulence that I create behind me, which sometimes could be deadly. 

The burble causes the cameraman to lose his lift, because he doesn’t have any air in that spot to keep him flying. 

Skillset: Tell us about “BASE Tripping” (the brand new BASE-jumping series by Carlos Pedro Briceño). 

Carlos Briceño: “BASE Tripping” is the BASE-jumping series I have created to show all the beautiful places and people around the world that I have seen and met doing what I love, which is flying ― feeling alive!

Skillset: What’s next for you?  

Carlos Briceño: Next for me is to keep flying, to keep exploring the world and to keep living my life the best I can. I want to keep doing cool projects.

INSTAGRAM @carlospedrobase

Check out our podcast Skillset Live and get in on the conversation with us on IG and Facebook!

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