Err… How high?
For some people, the thought of skydiving on its own is enough to give them the chills. For others, thinking about normal skydiving isn’t enough, they want to know just how high people are able to jump from. While a normal elevation to jump from is somewhere around 12,500 feet, it’s also not uncommon for people to jump from of elevations of up to 18,000 feet.
Of course, the conditions would need to be perfect for a jump like that, and anyone who is jumping from such an elevation would need to already be an experienced sky diver. The higher up you go, the more potential there is for things to go wrong.
Sky dive to the max…
To take things to another extreme, there are also people out there who find jumping from an airplane to be way too tame, and they’d prefer to jump from a spacecraft instead. Take a moment to mull that over in your head, especially if you find skydiving to be frightening. Some people will actually board a spacecraft, and once they get high enough, will then jump out of said spacecraft, for a much longer free fall than they could ever get from traditional skydiving.
Now, people like that are certainly the exception and not the rule. In fact, only two people on this earth can even lay claim to having ever done something so bold. The first is Major Joe Kittinger, who did his record breaking jump way back in 1960 when he jumped from 102,800 feet. But, Joe did not do this from a spacecraft – instead he did it from a helium balloon. Reason being, at that point, the first human had yet to be sent into space.
Joe Kittinger was doing dives like this before man knew what it felt like to walk on the moon. He deployed his chute at 18,000 feet, the same elevation that experienced skydivers START their jump, when they are going for high altitude jumps.
After 52 years, the record was broken
Kittinger held on to the that record for 52 years, before Austrian Felix Baumgartner came along to break it. This time, an actual spacecraft was used, and helped bring Felix up to 127,852 feet. That’s a whole 25,000 feet higher than Kittinger’s jump. You might think Kittinger would be upset about losing his record to Baumgartner. He wasn’t though – in fact, he was an advisor to Baumgartner throughout the whole process.
During his descent, Kittinger was the only one Baumgartner had to talk to and give him advice. No one else in the entire world was nearly as qualified as Kittinger for such a task, as no one else had ever jumped from anywhere near that height before.
You’re probably asking at this point, if this is the new norm in skydiving, and if we will start seeing more people attempting to jump from space any time soon. We don’t think so though – we believe that more people will attempt to push the limits, but it will all be highly controlled, and require long periods of preparation before each jump. The days of the average thrill-seeker being able to board a spacecraft and jumping from those types of altitudes are still a long ways away.
We know that some of you are probably disappointed to hear that, while others couldn’t be happier. Imagine if you got talked into skydiving for charity, and then found out you’d be boarding a spacecraft to do so! Makes the whole experience a lot scarier. Fortunately, that type of jump will be left solely to the professional for now.