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Veronique de Turenne

What goes up...

One of my neighbors here in Malibu made it into the NYT yesterday. Jeb Corliss. He wants to fly.

You may remember him as the guy who was arrested in New York last April when he tried to jump off the Empire State Building. Which gives a clue to his obsession: Jeb wants to jump from a helicopter without a parachute.

The landing, as one might expect, poses the biggest challenge, and each group has a different approach. Most will speak in only the vaguest terms out of fear that someone will steal their plans.

Mr. Corliss will wear nothing more than a wing suit, an invention that, aeronautically speaking, is more flying squirrel than bird or plane.

He plans to land on a specially designed runway of his own design. It will borrow from the principles of Nordic ski jumping and will cost about $2 million...

This spring, he's doing a series of test runs. You know, just noodle around a bit, nothing too crazy.

Wearing his wing suit, he will jump from a plane, which will then execute a 270-degree turn and descend at a steep angle. He will fly down to the plane and re-enter it. This will be his second attempt at the benchmark. His first failed when he missed the plane; he deployed his parachute and glided to earth.

Turns out the plane was going too fast, though, so they're going to give it another shot.

Anyway, it's a great story that calls up images of Icarus, the Wright Brothers and my personal hero, Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

Jeb Corliss, you make me proud to be from Malibu.
Jeb Corliss wants to fly
Axel Koester for The New York Times, left; Perry Trowbridge/AFP

Next entry: Point Dume hawk

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