Lets start of by stating that there are a lot of skydiving world records. There are so many different disciplines in skydiving, and there can be multiple different records within each discipline. It is amazing to see the skill and determination behind the people attempting and making these world records. The motivation behind the individuals to become the next biggest formation, or the fastest or most accurate canopy pilot. There is even the most naked humans to make a skydiving formation! Like I said, there are many, many skydiving world records. People become very creative, inspired and motivated to push their skills and the sport to the next level.
Because there are so many different world records over the years in skydiving, it makes creating a list of the top records a bit difficult. And so, here we have decided to present to you the top 5 craziest skydive world records. These stunts and meticulously planned skydives have left us all in awe and wonder. And without a doubt there are countless, impressive world records in skydiving. But today, lets take a look at these top 5 craziest skydive world records.
Highest skydive without a parachute
Yes, you read that right. There is someone in the world who thought it would be a good idea to go skydiving without a parachute. Not only that, but to do it from a ridiculously high altitude. In 2016 Luke Atkins jumped from an airplane at an altitude of 25,000 ft (7600 m), without a parachute in the California desert. He named his stunt “Heaven Sent”, which is a bit of a funny name for an extremely dangerous skydiving stunt.
So you might be wondering, “how did he land safely without a parachute”? Well, Luke aimed his body at a 10,000 square foot net. Which he obviously NEEDED to land in to survive the jump. He was equipped with a GPS unit during his freefall, so he could direct his movement to the correct location. The skydive (freefall) took around 2 minutes, and was being broadcasted live on television. Luke’s family was also in the landing zone, watching the stunt. Imagine the confidence in yourself that you must have to attempt a stunt as crazy as this? Which is why we have Luke’s Heaven Sent jump as the first on our list of craziest skydive world records.
Not without planning!
Now, do not assume that this insane stunt went without preparation, because it took a lot of work to make it happen. Luke spent around 18 months preparing for this skydive stunt, and worked along with other dedicated individuals to make this stunt a successful reality. Luke himself is a experienced skydiver, with over 18,000 jumps. He has previously performed other stunts, including in movie production, such as the Iron Man 3 movie.
The biggest skydiving formation
This is praised as the most impressive skydiving world record to date. In 2006, a group of 400 of the best big-way formation skydivers met in Thailand to create this unbelievable skydive. 400 skydivers jumping from multiple airplanes at the same time, and successfully creating a formation. Hard to even imagine, and I would certainly love to chat with some of these skydivers to hear the tales of this world record!
How it was made possible
To plan a record attempt such as this, is far from an easy task. First of all they needed to find 400 skydivers with experience in big-way formations, and who could travel to Thailand to make this record attempt. Imagine the efforts to coordinate 400 people from all around the world to meet in one place with this common goal. Not an easy feat, as we can all imagine. Another commitment was that everyone needed to purchase a new skydive jump suit, with a particular colour for this record attempt. This is because the mastermind behind the jump, BJ Worth, was dedicating the skydive as a tribute to the King of Thailand on his birthday.
So how exactly do you get 400 skydivers in the air at the same time? Well, this is another amazing feature of this world record skydive. The amount of aircraft support needed was insane. In fact, in order to get everyone up in the most efficient fashion was to use military grade C-130 aircrafts, 5 of them actually! The skydivers had to wear oxygen for each jump, as they began attempts at 20,000 ft and worked there way up to the record setting jump, exiting the aircraft from 25,400 ft.
Most skydives made in 24 hours
This record amazes me, it is really hard to wrap my head around this record. In 2006, Jay Stokes set the record for the most skydives made in 24 hours. The record he set was a whopping 640 skydives. Yes, absolutely insane right? I mean, an avid skydiver usually makes between 200-300 skydives A YEAR. Yet here Jay Stokes doubled that in one day! Its amazing to think of the support network he needed to set this incredible skydive world record. Not to mention the mental strain it must have taken to push through the fatigue of jumping for 24 straight hours, through the daylight and night time.
It takes a whole team
So as you can guess, it took a lot of support and help from others to make this record happen. Jay used 23 skydiving rigs to complete this record. He had countless volunteers on the ground, to pack his parachutes, to strip him of his gear as he landed, and set him up with his next freshly packed parachute. Not to mention the pilots, the aircraft fuelers and many more people to make this record happen smoothly. Jay would be assisted with gear and safety checks during the climb to altitude. Which was to approximately 2100 ft, where Jay would jump and immediately deploy his parachute. Spiralling down for a landing which would take approximately 45 seconds after exiting the aircraft. Volunteers would strip his gear, put his new gear on and Jay would rush to the plane within seconds of him landing on the ground.
Jay Stokes attempted this record to celebrate his 50th birthday. He also used it as an opportunity to fundraise, and he took pledges and contributions which were donated to the Special Olympics and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Which is a foundation providing college scholarships to children of fallen soldiers.
Largest Canopy Formation
This is a pretty unreal record to successfully complete. The largest canopy formation is certainly fitting of being in a list of top craziest skydive records. This record was made in 2007 and it consisted of 100 canopies linking together to make a planned formation. So maybe you are thinking that 100 isnt a very big number compared to the 400 way skydive we talked about earlier. However, this is 100 parachutes flying TOGETHER, they are fly towards eachother and then hooking onto the other canopies with their feet. Its actually insanely impressive to think of this formation flying together. This style of skydiving is called CRW (Canopy Relative Work), and it was much more popular in the past. This type of skydive does not require any freefall time, instead the skydivers deploy their parachutes immediately after exiting the aircraft.
The record was made up of skydviers from 14 countires all around the world, who came to Florida, USA to make it happen. There were 5 Twin Otter aircrafts used to drop the skydivers. Each aircraft had a different altitude to drop the skydivers, in order to staggar the amount of people opening their canopies at once. The highest dropping from 20,000 ft, then 18,000 ft, 16,000 ft and the final two aircrafts from 13,000 ft. The formation took approximatly 11 minutes and 30 seconds to build and the completed 100 way formation was held and flown for 12 seconds. It took 5 attempts to make the successful formation record.
To further blow your mind on just how ridiculously insane this formation was, the size of the formation was equal to that of a football field! The formation itself weighed a total of 20,388 pounds! Which you can compare to 6 Ford Mustangs, which weigh about 19,500 pounds. This record is off the charts, hands down one of the craziest skydive world records ever.
Largest Vertical Formation
A vertical formation means that the skydivers are flying in a head down (head to earth) orientation, creating a formation by gripping onto one another. The current record for the largest vertical formation was made in 2015, in Chicago, and consisted of 164 skydivers. This is an amazing accomplishment, due to the level of skill that one needs to have to be able to participate in this style of flying. Head down flying is a very challenging position and requires lots of training and skills to master. It also increases your falling speed drastically compared to say belly to earth flying (such as in the 400 way record). With this increased speed, there is more chances of instability. And when you are flying with 164 people at once, the chance for more error at higher speeds is always a concern.
The team consisted of international high level flyers from around the globe. It took them only 13 attempts to complete the record, which itself is quite impressive. To complete this world record skydive, seven aircrafts where used and skydivers jumped from 19,700 ft. And so during each of the 13 attempts, all 164 skydivers and the 4 cameramen needed to use oxygen after 14,000 ft. After each jump, the 168 skydivers now had to fly their canopies and land safely more or less in the same area. To see this many canopies flying towards the landing area is impressive and scary at the same time. Thankfully during the attempts, all of the skilled skydivers made it back to the ground safely and finally with a world record.
Attempting to beat the record
In 2018, an attempt to beat this record was made. The goal was to fly a 200-way vertical formation. Once again, after countless training camps and try outs around the world, skydivers met in Chicago to make this record attempt. Unfortunately the group was faced with many days of bad weather. After multiple attempts the records attempt was not successful. However, it was successful in a sense that so many skydivers came together and flew safely with no one being injured. The emotions where high, and everyone is determined to once again make this record attempt in the future. I believe that these skilled skydivers are capable, so lets wait and see what they can do!
Keep coming back
These top 5 craziest skydive world records are certainly impressive and mind blowing. Just when we all thought jumping out of an airplane in itself was crazy enough. However, humans always like to push the limits, and skydivers are certainly no different. We can only imagine with the growing technology and skill level, what sort of records will exist in the future. Only time will tell, and I believe that skydivers are motivated and crazy enough to continue to push the edge.
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