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August 24, 2012

In flight

The desire to float on the breeze is a strong one. The illusion of escaping gravity, however briefly, has driven mankind in myriad attempts at flight. The animals that achieve this are the subject of envy, study, and imitation. Flying, falling, or floating, the following images show us joyfully escaping the bounds of gravity, even if just for a moment. [Editors' note: There will be no Big Picture entries for the week of August 27, 2012. We will return with regular posts on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.]-- Lane Turner (31 photos total)

A competitor jumps into the water during a cliff diving competition near the central Bohemian village of Hrimezdice, Czech Republic on August 3, 2012. (David W Cerny/Reuters)

A participant demonstrates his skills using a water jet pack during a competition near Pleshchenitsy, Belarus on August 4, 2012. (Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters) #

Roller skate designer and performer Jean-Yves Blondeau leaps into the air as he skates down a road on Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, China on July 22, 2012. Wearing a multiple-wheel roller suit, Blondeau took less than 20 minutes to skate almost seven miles from the peak to its base. (China Daily/Reuters) #

Benny Borash kite boards in heavy seas and wind off Long Beach in Nahant, Mass. on June 4, 2012. (Bill Greene/Globe Staff) #

Jessica Marie Palazzolo, suspended from an overhead pulley, is lowered during the "Flight of the Angel," the culmination of the four-day Fisherman's Feast in Boston's North End on August 13, 2012. (Tamir Kalifa for The Boston Globe) #

Chris Ashworth, who plays a cosmonaut, heads towards the camera during rehearsal for filming of the movie "Space Warriors" on July 20, 2012 at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. (Dave Dieter/The Huntsville Times/Associated Press) #

Tourists enjoy zero gravity conditions during a flight in a specially modified plane above the Moscow region on August 15, 2012. (Sergei Remezov/Reuters) #

Felix Baumgartner steps out from the capsule during a test flight on July 25, 2012 over Roswell, New Mexico on a mission to the edge of space to an altitude of 37.000 meters to break several records including the speed of sound in freefall. (Jay Nemeth/Red Bull via Getty Images) #

Soldiers are deployed from a Washington Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a demonstration on August 5, 2012 in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press) #

A Belgian Air Force C-130 cargo plane flies over Belgium on July 19, 2012 during a rehearsal for the country's National Day military parade. (Yves Herman/Reuters) #

Russian Su-27 jet fighters perform during a celebration marking the Russian air force's 100th anniversary in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 12, 2012. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press) #

A firefighting tanker plane drops water above a forest fire near Lacanau, France on August 17, 2012. (Loic Le Loet/Reuters) #

Michael Wiskus wows the crowd at the Over the River Air Show on July 28, 2012 in Pasco, Wash. (Richard Dickin/The Tri-City Herald/Associated Press) #

A replica Bleriot plane performs during a rehearsal of the Russian air force's 100th anniversary in Zhukovsky on August 10, 2012. (Misha Japaridze/Associated Press) #

Tourists look at the Prague Castle from a balloon on August 12, 2012 in Prague. (Michal Cizek/AFP/GettyImages) #

Hot air balloons take to the skies from Ashton Court at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta on August 10, 2012 in Bristol, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

A fawn breasted Birillant (Heliodoxa rubinoides) is seen at the private reserve of Paz de las Aves (Peace of the Birds) near Nanegalito, Ecuador on April 4, 2012. Ecuador has 1600 species, 13% of the existing world total. (Rodrigo BuendiaAFP/GettyImages) #

Young sparrows call out to a male house sparrow as it flies off to find more food in East Windsor, Conn. on July 26, 2012. (Jessica Hill/Associated Press) #

Mosquitoes and a dragonfly flit around a light on a hot summer night at the Turquillas land in Osuna, Spain on August 9, 2012. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) #

A squirrel aboard the USS Constitution exercises its sea legs in Boston, Mass. on August 16, 2012. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff) #

France's Renaud Lavillenie celebrates as he competes in the pole vault final at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/GettyImages) #

A diver takes a plunge with torches from the 82-foot-high Old Mostar Bridge into the Neretva River during the annual night high diving event in Mostar, Bosnia on July 29, 2012. (Amel Emric/Associated Press) #

Indian children dive in the River Ganges in Varanasi, India on June 1, 2012. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press) #

A couple jumps into the lake in Podpec, Slovenia on August 6, 2012. (Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters) #

Actor Doug Jones jumps at the premiere of "The Watch" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on July 23, 2012. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters) #

A paramilitary policemen clears a wall during a training exercise at a military base in Chuzhou, China on July 25, 2012. (ChinaTopix/AP Photo) #

The English National Ballet performs a show before the start of the women's individual all-around gymnastics final in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 2, 2012. (Mike Blake/Reuters) #

Jonathan Horton of the US trains at the O2 Arena before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games in London July 25, 2012. This photo was taken using multiple exposures . (Mike Blake/Reuters) #

138 skydivers form a massive snowflake on August 3, 2012 over Ottawa, Ill. It took 15 attempts over three days for the team to break the previous record of 108 skydivers, which was set in 2009. (Brian Buckland/Associated Press) #

Megan Haverkamp (center front) and Michaela Hart enjoy a ride called the Ring of Fire at the midway of the Crow Wing County Fair on July 31, 2012 in Brainerd, Minn. (Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch/Associated Press) #

A boy flies a kite by the Amazon River during a festival inaugurating the river as one of the seven natural wonders of the world in Iquitos, Peru on August 13, 2012. (Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters) #