JARI M.H. KUOSMA
Jari Kuosma is professional skydiver, explorer, innovator, designer, speaker and renainssance man. He is known as the pioneer of wingsuit flying and the owner and founder of BIRDMAN® International, ltd.
Jari was born March 3rd 1969 in Helsinki, Finland. After high school he studied international business and leadership in Helsinki, Finland and Groningen, The Netherlands but dropped out for starting his own business BIRDMAN® International, ltd. in 1999.
SKYDIVING, B.A.S.E. JUMPING & WINGSUITS
Jari got first bitten by flying at the age of two when his father took him flying with his Cessna 172. Flying was a hobby for all families and seeing skydiver's drop at eye level above Helsinki-Malmi International Airport was probably the reason for starting skydiving at the Parachuting Club of Finland in 1991. The hobby soon baceme a passion and by 1997 Jari had became a Finnish record holder in freefall disciplines, and of the first Finnish International Accelerated FreeFall Instructor rating holder (AFF) and also the first Finn in history to get a B.A.S.E. (akronym for Buildings Antennas Span Earth) number # 585.
During 1997 - 1998 Jari was working in Florida as an AFF Instructor and B.A.S.E. jumped in South-America, Europe and USA. His travels took him B.A.S.E. jumping to now famous cliff in Arco, Italy where he heard about Patric DeGayardon's wingsuit and his flight from the cliff. Wingsuits were commercially non-existent at the time and Patric, who had been the last pioneer to develop modern type of wingsuit had sadly died during his test flight a year earlier. The only way to get one was to build one for yourself but there was no one (known) alive to ask how. It didn't stop Jari to pursue the dream of flight so he instigated a team of friends to make a copy of Patric's suit, Slovenian aerodynamics guru Stane Kranjc and Croatian jump suit manufacturer Robert. First test flights from the same cliff were done one year later and a further month later Jari decided to quit his job, sell everything he had and started a company to develop and build wingsuits. Jari made a contract with small Slovenian clothing factory turned into a wingsuit factory and hired Robert to work for him, BIRDMAN® was born.
Jari invested literally all his money for the project and the first commercial wingsuit, called BIRDMAN s.u.i.t. was reality in the summer of 1999. The deal was to make 100 wingsuits but 72 were built when the money ran out it was time to introduce them for the public. The huge problem at the time was the absolutely notorious reputation wingsuits had. Most of the early skydiving pioneers who had built wingsuits had died in accidents developing the wings since the beginning of skydiving and many countries had banned the use of them. Including Finland, Jari's native land. Luckily, not all countries had the law in effect, probably because nobody dared to jump them anyway, including France, Norway and USA which were among the first stops. Since there was no money left to pay import and custom duties Jari and Robert smuggled the suits across the EU border in the back of a van and took them to the Vichy Boogie in France. The French skydivers had a long history in pioneering wingsuit builders so the atmosphere was very curious. Jari had written a seven page BIRDMAN user manual which became to known as the Bible of the "First Flight Course" - manuals for wingsuits. The system worked and we earned the respect of the local skydivers to teach newbies. Nobody died and 17 wingsuits we sold at the boogie. The trip continued to Norway Extremesports Veko and the World FreeFall Convention in Quincy, USA, where almost all the remaining wingsuits from the original 72 were sold. The word went around quickly and the world of skydiving was never the same after that.
Secret to success was not only the superior product but the BIRDMAN First Flight Course and the BIRDMAN Wingsuit Instructor Course, both invented and written by Kuosma; they were methods and programs to teach skydivers how to fly safely with wingsuits and eventually become certified wingsuit pilots, wingsuit Instructors and BirdMan Chief Instructors in order to make more wingsuit Instructors. Over the years other manufacturers and all national skydiving associations as well the F.A.I. (World Sports Federation) adapted the program Jari had originated. The open source method had worked and the mission had been accomplished.
Jari stopped manufacturing and selling wingsuits in 2009 after a decade of pioneering and trail blazing. He licenced the wingsuit rights to Japan and focused on completing the journey by practising multiple skills and studies.
Jari has over 5200 parachute jumps of which over 4000 are with wingsuits. He has designed and tested 22 commercial wingsuits for skydivers, the worlds first skydivers watch collection and instigated two skydivivers clothing collections to date. BIRDMAN® has sold some 4000 wingsuits and Jari has taught and inspired tens of thousands of skydivers all around the world the art of human flight.
Jari has International Skydivers FAI-0013 D - licence, USPA D-Licence, USPA PRO-Rating and BirdMan Chief Instructor # 1 rating. He was the first Finn to earn a B.A.S.E. jumpers number (B.A.S.E. 585). B.A.S.E. is an acronym and stands for Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth.
Jari is also certified open water scuba diver, ultra light and private pilot as well as paragliding and speed flying pilot.
Jari has appeared in hundreds of main-stream magazines, print and internet media, TV & Documentary films and performed as a stunt jumper for live shows, demonstration jumps as well as for film & TV shows / documentaries.
Jari has earned a "SKYDIVER OF THE YEAR" prize in Finland for his pioneering work in skydiving and Venezuelan Special Forces "MEDAL OF HONOUR" for saving two paratroopers during training.
SPEAKER & AUTHOR
Jari has given lectures and speeches for private and public audiences all over the world including The Oxford Union, "This house would live fast and die young" and appeared in dozens of LIVE and recorded TV shows including CNN World News.