Showing posts with label Skydiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skydiving. Show all posts

Video: 65-Women Set World's Skydiving Record

You would think that there wouldn't be much of a challenge to setting a world's record for most sky divers other than taking a big group up, having everyone jump out, and then complete the jump. But that wasn't he case with this group of 65 female skydivers, who recently set the record for a vertical head-down jump. It took them 16 tries to get it right, over the course of a weeks time, with the jumpers suffering a variety of physical challenges along the way, including exploding sinuses, hypoxia, multiple mid-air kicks to the head, and rough landings that nearly resulted in broken bones. But, eventually they were able to reach their goal, and as you'll see in the video below, break the record in the process.

Video: BASE Jumping Through the Clouds in Switzerland

BASE jumping can be a scary enough proposition on its own, but throw in some clouds and it gets even more difficult. That's what skydiver Felix Lorentzen and friends discovered when they made a recent jump in the mountains of Switzerland. Putting aside their trepidation they decided to go for it anyway, and the result is the video below. After all, they knew that the ground had to be down below them somewhere. Right?

Video: Watch Skydiver Luke Aikins Plummet 25,000 Feet Without a Parachute

Yesterday I wrote about skydiver Luke Aikins and his 25,000 foot jump without a parachute. At the time, I said that there had to be a YouTube video coming that would show the entire proceedings, and I was right. You can watch the entire spectacle in the clip below, which is as scary as you would expect, even knowing the outcome. It will also give you more respect for Aikins skills as a skydiver as he maneuvers into a relatively small net to arrest his fall. Amazing stuff all around.

Skydiver Sets Record For Highest Jump without a Parachute

One of the biggest stories from this past weekend was the record setting skydive by Luke Aikins, who on Saturday leapt from an airplane at 25,000 feet (7620 meters) without a parachute and yet still managed to land safely and walk away completely unharmed.

The historic jump took place in the California desert on Saturday evening, which is when years of planning and months of training came together at long last. The very experienced skydiver used all of the skills he gained on more than 18,000 previous jumps to maneuver himself through the air and land on a 10,000 sq. foot net, which caught him perfectly, preventing Aikins from smashing into the ground. At that moment, he became the first person in history to jump from an airplane without a parachute, and land safely.

In the minutes leading up to that dangerous landing, Aikins – along with three other support skydivers who were wearing chutes – jumped from an aircraft and began drifting back to Earth. Luke wore an oxygen mask until he dropped below the 18,000 foot (5486 meter) mark, at which time he proceeded to fall without any kind of additional aid. He had to keep his wits about him at all times, and control his descent as best he could, in order to land on his mark. The net, which is roughly one third of the size of football field, was specifically designed and built to catch him just right, preventing any kind of injury. But, in order to hit it the daredevil had to be very precise in his approach. Fortunately, he was.


Just prior to making the jump it was announced that Aikin had been required to wear a parachute, although he vowed not to open it. It is unclear where this requirement came from, and it flew in the face of the entire plan, casting a brief shadow over the proceedings. Luke had been planning to make this jump sans chute for more than two years, and we even told you about his jump here on The Adventure Blog more than a year ago. But once he was airborne the requirement was reportedly lifted, and he was free to make the jump as he had originally intended.

As already mentioned, Aikin is an incredibly experienced skydiver. In addition to the 18,000+ jumps he's already made, he also is a consultant to the U.S. military, served as a stuntman, and even worked on Felix Baumgartner's record setting jump from the edge of space a few years back. In other words, if anyone had the skills necessary to make this leap, it was Luke and very few other people should even consider it. Hopefully this doesn't start a trend of more people trying to push the envelope in the skydiving department, which could end in tragic accidents.

That said, this is another stunt that I'm eager to see the YouTube video for. Hopefully we'll get something released int he next few days. It will definitely be interesting to watch the entire fall and see how it all unfolded.

Congratulations to Luke on accomplishing this feat. What an amazing, daring, and crazy stunt to pull off.

Video: Hang Gliding Off Half Dome (Circa 1977)

This short documentary was shot back in 1977 but it only now making its way out to the public. It chronicles the flight of three men – Rich Piccirilli, Jim Hanbury, and Brian Johnson – from the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Mid-flight Hanbury and Johnson release themselves from the hang glider and freefall to the valley floor below. This is a wonderful, nostalgic look back at a very different era in world of outdoor adventure. But it is lots of fun nonetheless.

 
HALF DOME! (1977) from Randy Forbes on Vimeo.

What the Hell is Wingboarding and Will it Be the Next Big Thing in Extreme Sports?

Outside Online has published a story about an emerging new activity called wing boarding that is in the early stages of development. Inspired by the old Disney television show Tailspin from back in the early 90's, wing boarding is the brainchild of aerospace engineer Aaron Wypyszynski, who has designed a flying wing that is pulled behind an airplane with a person standing on it. In simpler terms, it is wake boarding in the air.

Over the past couple of years, Wypysznski has been developing prototypes of what he calls the WingBoard. In its current state, this flying platform spans 12-feet and weighs approximately 70 pounds. It has bindings attached to it much like a snowboard, and allows a full grown man to be towed through the air behind an airplane, doing all kinds of stunts in the process.

Outside says to date, the engineer has spent more than $25,000 on this project, which he hopes one day will be used at airshows with extreme athletes carving up the sky behind stunt planes. In a sense, it would be surfing through the sky, with safety features such as breakaway bindings and parachutes on both the pilot and the board, to ensure that no one gets injured in the process.

So far, only scale models of the WingBoard have been flown, with the most recent test involving a prototype that is 40% of the actual size of the end product. A similarly scaled model of a human was attached to that prototype, with the test running coming off without a hitch – including a full barrel roll. If further testing goes as planned, Wypysznski could begin producing and selling WingBoards as early as next year.

So? What do you think? Would you ride this thing? Check out the video below for a look at one of the models in action.


Video: Taking Flight Over Moab

This beautiful video takes us high above the rocky landscapes of Moab, Utah where eight different disciplines of flight (proximity flying, wingsuits, skydiving, etc.) all converge to show us what is possible when humans take to the air. The landscapes around Moab make a great backdrop for these scenes, which look incredible from every angle. After watching this, you'll believe that a man can fly.

Skydiver to Jump From Stratosphere Without a Parachute, Spacesuit, or Oxygen

I had a curious email arrive in my inbox this morning. It announced an insane event that is scheduled to take place on March 25, 2016 at an as yet undisclosed location. That is when an unknown skydiver will reportedly leap from an airplane at 50,300 feet (15,331 meters) without wearing a spacesuit, oxygen mask, pressure suit, or parachute. They'll then plummet from more than nine miles up, into the ocean, in a place that is said to be teeming with great white sharks. The entire thing will be aired online as a pay-per-view event that will be sold for $15, with VIP tickets available for purchase for those who want to witness this strange occurrence live. Oh, and did I mention that the team behind this also claims to being doing it to raise awareness of water-related diseases which claim the lives of a child somewhere in the world every 60-90 seconds?

The even is being billed as the Death Challenge since the person making the jump seems to have very little chance of survival. After all, how is it possible that someone could fall from more than 50,000 feet up without a parachute and hope to survive? I suppose the organizers of the event are using that as selling point to get as many people to tune in as possible – at $15 a pop – with the morbidly curious hoping to see someone actually perish.

As if that wasn't enough, there will apparently be several "lifelines" that people watching on the Internet will be able to vote for or against. Those lifelines will reportedly offer the skydiver some things that could save his or her life, although ultimately it will be the audience that decides whether or not they receive them. Just what those things are has yet to be revealed.


The information I was sent about this event doesn't share the name of he person who is actually making the skydive. They only refer to him or her as "The Challenger." Why the shroud of mystery? That isn't clear, but I suspect it's because they don't actually have someone who is willing to commit to making the leap just yet, so their hedging their bets without sharing a name.

I have to admit, I was very hesitant about writing about the "Death Challenge" at all. On the one hand, this seems like a dangerous and stupid event that must surely result in someone either dying or getting severely injured. On the other, it is being billed as a way to raise awareness of an important issue, so I'm not really sure what to believe. All I know is that this "challenge" is marketing being pushed to the extreme, with the hopes of pulling in cash from those that can't wait to see someone else get injured or killed.

I've got to believe that there is something that the marketing for this event is not revealing just yet. Some way that the person who is jumping out of the aircraft will actually survive the fall. Perhaps they'll have a jetpack or special wingsuit to help with the descent. We all know that it is nearly impossible to survive a fall from that height without some kind of aid, even if you are landing in the water. After that, any sharks that are swimming nearby are least of the person's worries, as they're unlikely to attack a person anyway.

So, is this a marketing ploy taken to the extreme? A real event that is incredibly crazy? Something in-between? I guess we'll have to wait to learn more, but it certainly sounds very dubious to me.

Video: Former Navy SEAL Sets Record for Longest Wingsuit Flight

Meet Andy Stumpf, a former Navy SEAL, skydiver, and wingsuit pilot. In an effort to raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation, Andy attempted to set a new world record for the longest wingsuit flight, eventually traveling over 18 miles (29 km) after jumping out of a plane. In this video, you'll not only see that record-breaking flight, you'll learn a lot more about what makes it possible, and the dangers involved. While he wasn't zipping just above the tree line or zooming through rocky canyons as we've seen in other wingsuit videos, Andy's flight is none the less a thrilling one. Check it out below.

Video: Wingsuit Pilots Compete in Slalom Race 8000 Feet in the Sky

Leave it up to the mad scientists at Red Bull to come up with an event that takes place 8000 feet (2438 meters) up in the sky. In this video, you'll see wingsuit pilots take to the air to race one another through a slalom course to find out who exactly is the fastest person in the air. The event is called the Red Bull Aces, and it requires participants to navigate through four flying gates before reaching the finish line. It is not unlike a ski slalom race, except it takes place a mile and a half up in the air, where there is plenty of bumping and jostling for position on the way down.

This is one of those events that I'd much rather watch than ever participate in myself. This is totally wild.

Video: A World-Record 164-Person Skydive

Setting up and pulling off a world record skydive attempt isn't easy. There is a lot of preparation and coordination that goes into such an event. This video not only gives us a behind the scenes look at how something like that comes together, but it also takes us into the air to join 164 skydivers as they link-up mid-flight to set a new world record. As you can probably imagine, it is a pretty spectacular sight.

Video: 33,000 Feet Above Mont Blanc

The Soul Flyers are a team of skydivers, BASE jumpers, and wingsuit pilots who make precision jumps all over the world. In the case of this video, three members of the squad jumped out of a plane at 33,000 feet (10058 meters) over Mont Blanc in Europe. Their descent was captured on GoPro cameras, with some beautiful scenery of both the sky, and the mountains below, making an appearance throughout the clip. This is high altitude sky diving over an iconic mountain, and thanks to their tiny action cameras, we get to go along for the ride.

Video: "Jetmen" Make Dramatic Flight Over Dubai

We've featured "Jetman" Yves Rossy, and his impressive looking jetpack, here on the Adventure Blog before. But now he's back, and he's brought a friend along for the ride. In this video, Rossy is joined by his protege Hetman Vince Reffet on an impressive flight over the city of Dubai. The two men fly in formation while the "City of Dreams" makes for a dramatic backdrop. The personal aircraft the two men use during their flight looking incredibly fun to fly, and while I'm not ready to give it a go just yet, it sure makes for a fun video.

Thanks to my friend Rick for sharing!

Skydiver Will Attempt 25,000-foot Drop Without a Parachute

Luke Aikins is no stranger to skydiving. After all, he has made more than 16,000 jumps in his career. He even played a role in helping Felix Baumgartner make his historic free-fall from the edge of space back in 2012. But now, Aikins is preparing for a daring jump of his own, and it just might be more dangerous than the one that made Baumgartner a household name.

According to this article from Dropzone.com, Aikins is preparing to make a jump from 25,000 feet (7620 meters) without using a parachute at all. Instead, he'll use a wingsuit to control his descent as he attempts to land on a 100x100 foot (30x30 meter) net which will stop his fall.

This event, which will take place at an undermined date later this year, will leave little room for error on the part of Aikins  He'll be traveling at a tremendous speed as he nears the net, and even the slightest error in his flight path could result in disaster. Of course, the jump is set to be aired on television, although it is unclear as to which network will actually show it live.

As Dropzone points out, this won't be the first time a skydiver has jumped out of a plane with out a chute, but in most other cases they had others with them that were able to either grab them on the way down, or hand them a parachute to don as they descended. In this case, Aikins will be all alone, and won't have safety net of carrying a parachute with him. If something goes wrong, he's on his own, and it isn't likely to end well.

The video below is a teaser for the project, which has been dubbed "Heaven Sent." Lets hope that name isn't somehow portentous of the outcome. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this in the weeks ahead.

Video: 100-Year Old Grandma Goes Skydiving

Who says that just because you get a few birthdays under you belt you need to stop pursuing a life of adventure? Take Georgina Harwood for example. This South African grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday this past weekend by going skydiving, something she first did when she turned 92. And if jumping out of a perfectly good airplane isn't wild enough for you, next she intends to go diving with great white sharks near Cape Town. She's a good inspiration to us all, and we should all be so luck to reach 100 and still enjoy these pursuits.

High-Altitude Skydiver Breaks Felix Baumgartner's Record for Highest Freefall

Remember Felix Baumgartner? He's the man who made that epic skydive from the edge of space a few years back, captivating the Internet in the process. At the time, he set a new record for the highest freefall skydive, jumping from a height of 127,852 feet (38,969 meters). Last Friday, October 24, a little over two years after Felix set that amazing record, it was broken with little fan-fare by an exec from Google named Dr. Alan Eustace.

Much like Baumgartner, Eustace used a small capsule, carried aloft by high-altitude balloons, to reach his exit altitude. He lifted off from an abandoned airstrip near Roswell, New Mexico and spent two hours climbing to a height of 135,890 feet (41,419 meters), at which point he stepped out of sealed capsule, and plummeted back to Earth. It took him just 15 minutes to touch back down, as he reached speeds of 822 mph (1322 km/h) on the descent.

Eustace's jump bested Baumgartner's in total height by more than 7000 feet (2133 meters). But perhaps the most remarkable element of the project is that Eustace kept it a secret from just about everyone, and didn't create a media circus around this jump. In fact, it wasn't until after he completed the skydive that news broke of the new record. He even reportedly self-funded the endeavor, even turning down money from Google to complete the project on his own.

The Google exec did work with a company called Paragon Space Development Corp, which designed his specially made space suit, and helped with the logistics of the balloon, and the flight. The high-altitude skydive had been planned for more than three years, which means Eustace started his project after Baumgartner had announced his intentions, but it still took two years to beat Felix's record.

The video below highlights some portions of the jump. While not as flashy as Bumgarner's videos, which were part of a full-on multi-media blitz sponsored by Red Bull, the clips give you a good understanding of what Eustace went through on his ride up, and fall back down. Amazing stuff.

Video: The Sounds of Paragliding

Here's a beautiful short film that is striking on both visually and auditory level. It features paragliding pilot Théo de Blic taking us for a flight, in which he gives us a great demonstration of the sounds he hears while in the air. A good pair of headphones or speakers are highly recommended, as you'll be listening to the tranquil sounds of the wind, the flapping of the parachute, and so much more. This is an extremely compelling piece of work, and definitely worth a look – as well as a listen.

Sounds of Paragliding from shams on Vimeo.

Video: One Extreme Athlete, Five Extreme Activities, One Hour

Only in New Zealand is it possible to cram five extreme activities into a single hour. In the video below, we watch as outdoor athlete Chuck Berry (I'm not making this up folks!) skydives out of a helicopter, lands on a mountain, then snowboards down to another helicopter, to catch a lift to a nearby trail, which he then descends on a mountain bike. Eventually he reaches a bridge with spans a a massive canyon, which is of course the perfect place to bungee jump. At the bottom of that jump, he boards a waiting jet boat, then flies down the canyon at break neck speed. It all looks like fun of course, even if I'd prefer to do it in a shorter timeframe so I can actually enjoy the activity.