"I'm Gonna Become An Aircraft"

Jeb Corliss has leaped from buildings and other places in a single bound.

Now, he plans to do it without the aid of a parachute.

Corliss is a base jumper -- a person who jumps from high places -- but until now, using a parachute.

Corliss has made jumps in 16 countries and five contents, more than 1,000 in all, from the likes of the Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge.

In April 2006, Corliss was arrested after being stopped from making the Empire State Building observation point a jumping point. A judge dismissed various crimes he was charged with, but Corliss was fired as host of the Discovery Channel's "Stunt Junkies."

His latest venture is trying to jump from a helicopter -- without a parachute.

Believe it or not, Corliss isn't alone in that goal. Several other groups around the globe are eyeing it.

Corliss says he'll wear a wing suit, which makes him look like a flying squirrel. He plans to landing on a specially designed runway he designed. It will cost up to $2 million. Once he gets the funding for his project, he says it could take up to four months to actually pull off. He anticipates trying in Las Vegas.

On The Early Show Wednesday, Corliss told co-anchor Julie Chen, "We need to build a runway to land on. Most aircraft with small wings that are traveling very, very fast need to land on runways. So, that's what we need to do.

"There's about five different groups all over the world working on it. So, we're all a little bit secretive about exactly what we're doing.

"But the easiest way to wrap your head around the concept of what's happening is to think of two sports that are happening right now. . . . During the Winter Olympics, you'll see ski jumpers hit giant jumps and get four-to-six seconds of free-fall time, basically before they make contact with the snow again. And the only reason they're capable of doing that without being injured is that they're landing on a slope, you know? So that gives you kind of an idea.

"The wing suit gives us the ability to fly three feet forward for every foot we fall. And that gives us the ability to fly the angle of a slope."

He added, "A wing suit, basically, is fabric that goes between your arms and between your legs and it changes the shape of your body. So you become, in essence, a flying squirrel.

"And I think that's one of the amazing things about human beings is how quickly we can evolve through technology and through using our minds. If you think about a flying squirrel, it took how many hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years to evolve the ability to jump from a high altitude and land uninjured. That's what makes people so special is that we don't need to morph our bodies, we create technology and then match skill with that technology to actually pull something like this off."

Corliss says he "absolutely" will carry a parachute, just in case: You're always, for safety purposes, you'll have a parachute so you'll have the option if you're not lined up properly or you've been dropped off in the wrong spot, you'll always be able to open a parachute for safety."

He explains that he plans to land on his belly, suggesting, "Imagine an aircraft -- aircraft don't land on their tails, they land on their bellies. That's exactly what I'm gonna become. I'm gonna become an aircraft' I'm gonna be landing on my belly.

"It's not very realistic to have landing gear like an aircraft does, so what we have to do is, our runway is special. Our runway becomes not only a runway but also becomes our landing gear. You have to be able to control that energy once you set down, and that's what we're developing. We're developing the ability to set down and then control the energy."

Why in the world would Corliss try this?

"I wouldn't I'm doing this because I'm a thrill-seeker. I'm a person who has dreams and my life is based on making those dreams come true. And that's what I focus on."
  • CBSNews

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