Extreme stuntman Jeb Corliss is a veteran wingsuit pilot. He’s swooped through waterfalls, around the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, and over Swiss mountaintops, soaring with his man-made wings, flying at terminal velocity.
But now, he's about to attempt the impossible.
ABC News “Nightline” joined Corliss and his team who came to Jang Langshan Mountain in eastern China to try a stunt so daring, so complex, so, well, insane really, he couldn't resist it, even though he nearly didn't live to see it.
“I have looked up at the sky since I was young,” said Corliss, “And I have watched birds fly and I have thought, 'Man, who wouldn't want to do that?'"
He’s not alone. There is the nascent World Wingsuit League. Or as he calls it, Formula 1 in the sky. Corliss is unarguably the sport's top gun.
But in January 2012, training on Table Mountain in South Africa, flying over sheer granite at 120 miles per hour, he experienced a near-fatal crash that should have killed him.
Not even 2 years later, now fully recovered, Corliss preps his team to pull off his latest stunt, what he calls “The Flying Dagger.”
His goal? To fly between the two jutting blades of mountain cliffs, aiming for the narrowest gap. One wrong move? All but certain death.
“It is a very bizarre geological anomaly unlike anything I have ever seen before,” said Corliss.
The dimensions are daunting -- 15 feet wide at the bottom, 60 feet wide at the top, 3 football fields long, 900 feet tall.
It might shock you to learn that Corliss, a guy who skirts death for a living, is terrified most of the time. For months now he's been training with high-tech help, simulating his exit from the chopper and how to land on a narrow mountain ledge. It's one thing to do the stunt, it's another to land safely.
To make it even more impossible, he has only 3 days to pull the stunt off. On stunt day, the weather becomes the main issue. Ideally the winds would be zero. Today they are 10-plus. But Chinese authorities say it has to be now.
Despite the conditions, he decides to go for it. The crowd spots the helicopter in the air. And with the winds suddenly calm, it's a go.
In 5 seconds, at 122 miles per hour, Jeb Corliss becomes the first person ever to pull off The Flying Dagger. And a pinpoint landing, hitting right where he wanted to be, if not quite on his feet.
“All of a sudden, the fear gripped me hard, and I started getting really scared,” he recalls. “And it became so overwhelming, I started crying. I was gripped with fear. Dude, I came that close to the wall. The feeling was so powerful, there are really no words to describe it.”
Corliss says he is not a daredevil. He hates being afraid but he loves what it feels like to push through that fear. Today, he's done it.