Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Lifestyle: Love on a wing and a prayer

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Finnish daredevil Jari ‘Birdman’ Kuosma will hurtle from the skies of Phuket into the waiting arms of his betrothed on Februay 25.

Jari ‘The Birdman’ Kuosma is Phuket’s own adventure action hero. He is known around the world for his sky diving talents and breathtaking exploits.

From his home country, Finland, to South America to Africa to California and Florida in the United States, Jari has been thrilling audiences with his daredevil stunts in the air. And now he has made Phuket his home.

“I’ve always been excited about skydiving, since I was a boy in Finland. My father was an amateur pilot and when we used to visit the airfields I was always watching the skies for the parachutes.”

In 1999, he decided to abandon his plans for a career in telecommunications and started up a wingsuit development company – Birdman International Ltd, continuing to spend as much of his time as possible jumping out of airplanes.

In 1993, he joined a Finnish team which broke the country’s record for the largest free-falling formation. He moved to DeLand, Florida and qualified as a professional instructor. He jumped with his clients to ensure their safety.

In 1997, while Jari was BASE (Building Antenna Span Earth) jumping in Italy, he learned of Frenchman Patrick de Gayardon who had invented a webbing system between the arms and the torso, and between the legs. The idea was to allow sky divers to actually fly and remain much longer in the air.

Working together with a parachute and jumpsuit manufacturer, the trio devised a wingsuit made from ripstop nylon, a fabric with zero porosity so the wings would remain rigid in flight. They set up their manufacturing studio in Slovenia where they made their first 80 wingsuits. And they had their challenges when introducing the suits to airfields.

“The history of jumping out of airplanes is less than a hundred years old. Between 1930 and 1961, 75 men jumped from planes wearing wingsuits made from a single layer of canvas stretched from hand to foot. Only three were known to have survived the jump. So there was a lot of skepticism about the safety of the wingsuit we developed.”

However, word spread of the new suit and soon Jari had a successful new venture to add to his credentials. He eventually returned to live in his native Helsinki where he met the ‘love of his life’.

“I must have moved back to Helsinki so I could meet my Nina. I met her seven years ago but proposed to her just five hours after we met. I knew she was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.”

Jari and Nina are planning to marry in a private ceremony in Phuket on February 25. And on that same date, as the finale to the White Sand / Blue Sky Air Show, Jari will don his Birdman suit and jump from an airplane to land on Surin Beach. “This will be a normal dive from 13,500 feet,” he says. “Nina has also jumped from a plane, but she’s decided that on her wedding day she’s going to keep her feet on the ground.”

It seems that Birdman knows no bounds when it comes to being in the air. He has made 5,022 jumps, on one of which he even accompanied his 76-year-old mother on her first parachute leap.

He now looks forward to further indulging his passion and his business at Phuket Airpark.

“Nina and I have settled on Phuket as we think it’s a beautiful tropical island and the perfect place to begin our married life,” he says.

— Bruce Stanley

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thai actress arrested for promoting a ponzi scheme

Thailand7 hours ago

Giant monitor lizard climbs up power pole to escape pack of dogs in central Thailand

World7 hours ago

“Drink more booze” Japan urges youth with new contest

Bangkok8 hours ago

CCSA leaves entertainment venues in limbo over 4am closing

Travel8 hours ago

Fun things to do indoors on a rainy day in Thailand (2022)

Bangkok8 hours ago

Tourists by locals in Bangkok: mad, bad, and dangerous to know

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Chon Buri8 hours ago

‘Dead body’ on Thailand beach turns out to be sex doll

Central Thailand9 hours ago

Shooting after comedy show in central Thailand, 1 seriously injured

Thailand9 hours ago

UPDATE: Woman who allegedly abused a soldier is a police officer

Kanchanaburi9 hours ago

Police shoot and kill major drug trafficker in Kanchanaburi

Tourism10 hours ago

Thailand’s CCSA talk tourist stats, visas on arrival & home isolation

Thailand10 hours ago

RTN’s ocean conservation activity accused of spoiling ecosystem

Chon Buri10 hours ago

Ferocious cobra bites rescuer’s girlfriend in Chon Buri

Thailand11 hours ago

Angry tourists demand refunds from tour operators in Thailand

Thailand12 hours ago

Motorbike taxi driver saves teenager from suicide in eastern Thailand

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending