TODAY   |  October 13, 2013

High-flying wingsuit racers compete for speed

Fourteen of the world's top wingsuit flyers - five of them American - competed to be the fastest on the planet, launching themselves off a rugged Chinese mountain for a shot at the title. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: they gathered this weekend on top of a rugged chinese mountain, 14 of the world's top wing suit flyers, five of them american, preparing to compete for the title of fastest on the planet, but they did so in the shadow of tragedy after the death during practice last week of veteran hungarian flier victor kovatz.

>> he would have wanted us to continue. that's just what we do.

>> reporter: then it was game on.

>> the wind conditions are good.

>> reporter: the opening heats. launching themselves into the valley below.

>> diving, diving, diving, diving and then pouring through that turn.

>> reporter: streaking across the sky like jet fighters , dicing with debt before deploying the parachutes that would bring them safely to ground. getting the launch right is vital. it takes a lot of concentration, a lot of skill and an awful lot of nerve.

>> why do you do this?

>> it's fun.

>> why do you do this?

>> because it makes us happy.

>> reporter: among the americans, ellen brennan, the world's fastest flying woman.

>> the nerves build up. every step i take towards the edge it calms down a little bit.

>> reporter: john devore whose movie credits include "ironman 3" it made for a nail biting finish with fractions of a second separating the top flyers. the american finished a fifth of a second behind the winner. colombian jonathan florez. the competition was another milestone for this young sport. for today, ian williams , china.

>> seems to me the victory is walking away alive.

>>> a shake up for the "fifty shades of grey." who will play christian as your life changes, fidelity is there for your personal economy, helping you readjust along the way,