At age 36, Sebastián Álvarez is “out of control”, as the Chilean’s wingsuit trip into an active volcano is by all accounts the global discussion. As a former military pilot, he actually got the nerves to explore the ‘undoable’, and leave a mark on the world.
In December 2021, Álvarez finished what he depicts as “by a long shot the most extreme” flight of his career: flying all through the cavity of an active spring of gushing lava. He was the only individual in the helicopter in a wingsuit.
Álvarez is the only person in history to have even attempted such an accomplishment of traveling to an active volcano and returning safely. As per him, this achievement has taken a long period of groundwork for him.
“Everything started because I had the dream of flying,” Álvarez says. “Since I was a kid, I just wanted to fly — and somehow, I made it happen.”
Álvarez’s first exposure was the point at which he enlisted in the Chilean Air Force, first as a pilot and afterward when he was shown how to skydive. He got “addicted” to skydiving and continued flying corps at whatever point he could set aside the extra opportunity.
Now, he is broadly perceived as one of the world’s top skydivers. Over the long haul, notwithstanding, that desire to feel an increased rush only grew, leading Álvarez get into BASE jumping and, eventually, wingsuit flying.
Hailing from Chile, a country with a huge range of stunning scenes, the 36-year-old needed his most challenging flight at this point to flaunt the normal marvels of his home country.
Given his rush looking for nature, he naturally ended up concluding that Villarrica – – one of Chile’s generally dynamic and perilous volcanoes and suitably named “the Devil’s House” by the Mapuche – – would be joined into his jump.
Jumping from a helicopter at in excess of 3,500 meters (practically 2.2 miles) in height, Álvarez would endeavor to use the wingsuit to arrive at velocities of in excess of 280 km/h (around 176.5 mph) and afterward fly into and out of the 200-meter (656 feet) wide hole of the spring of Volcano.
“This is by far the most extreme project I’ve ever done,” he says. “That’s for sure. Especially because of all of the factors; it was an active volcano, it was at high altitude, cold, windy and so there were a lot of things that I needed to take care of.
“Mentally, it was to me really hard because, again, my mind doesn’t want to be there, but you need to kind of force it to make it happen. I really enjoy doing these projects because I really like to push the sport a little bit more.” He said.
Getting ready for that big jump, it took over a year for Álvarez to finish around 500 practice hops. He also had to make complex estimations using velocity, distance and pneumatic stress to conclude whether or not it would even be conceivable. In any case, Álvarez says the real preparation for the jump started much earlier.
As indicated by him, the groundwork or preparation for this was for his entire life. And you should be a skydiver, a base jumper and if you are a pilot, far better. He said, regardless of whether you train for a very long time but you’ve not been skydiving before, it’s never going to be possible.
Álvarez frequently had tiny windows in which he could try the jump. The attempts were often canceled due to high winds, rain or snow, as well as fierce storms that sometimes lasted for up to a week.
Yet, on that day, they got a good climate and the fountain of liquid magma was not that active during that week. Interestingly, Álvarez asked the volcano a permission before embarking on that journey. According to him, he had a conversation with the place.
But Álvarez was scared anything could happen. Since this is an active volcano, if he fails, the story would’ve been told differently.
“If the volcano doesn’t want me there, he can do whatever he wants, you know, so I asked for permission and then I went there [afterward] and said thank you.”
“I cannot express how happy this makes me feel,” he explains. “But it does, you know, and I think that’s what life is about. I mean, you need to do what makes you happy.”
Álvarez certainly seems to be living by that philosophy.
Alvarez described his volcano stunt as “by far the most extreme” of his career.
The man known as “Ardilla” — “Squirrel” in English, described the recent jump as a “roller coaster of emotions” and says it’s “exactly like a volcano.
Álvarez began his career within the Chilean Air Force, fulfilling his childhood dream of being able to fly. Over time, ‘El Ardilla’, as he’s more commonly known, felt that military skydiving was not enough and he made the decision to leave the FACH to dabble in the sport that could deliver more adrenaline – wingsuit flying.
Following quite a while of progress in the United States and all over the planet, Álvarez was gaining recognition in the global scene and started to dazzle with mind boggling projects, for example, passing between the twin pinnacles of Viña del Mar, the BASE leap from Mont Blanc, evading the pinnacle highest in South America and a lot more.