Weird and Wonderful High-Altitude Records

Weird and Wonderful High-Altitude Records

23rd June 2020

Humans have long been fascinated by the idea of soaring high into the skies, and of falling from them. This is why there have been so many incredible high-altitude records set over the years.

The Highest Hot Air Balloon Ride

Vijaypat Singhania wrote himself into the record books in 2005, when he went for a gentle little air balloon trip. In fact, he rose up and up until reaching the dizzying heights of 68,986 feet over Mumbai in India.

At the age of 67 at the time of his record-breaking ascent, he was still several decades short of Emma Carol, who at 109 remains the oldest person to have taken a ride in one of these contraptions. You may also remember how Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand became the first people to cross the Atlantic in a balloon, in 1987.

The Longest Bungee Jump

The highest bungee jump on the planet is the 764 feet drop at Macau Tower in China. However, a Brit called Curtis Rivers decided that he wanted something just a little bit more extreme at an even higher altitude.

In 2002, Rivers climbed into a hot air balloon and rose to a height of 15,200 feet. From that great altitude, he jumped out attached to a bungee cord of 98 feet and bounced about a bit before eventually parachuting down to Earth. He then went on to work as a stuntman in Game of Thrones, among other credits.

The Longest Parachute Jump

2012 brought us the exhilarating 127,851 feet fall to Earth carried out by Felix Baumgartner. Even this daring leap from the stratosphere didn’t remain as a record for very long, though. It was broken just 2 years later.

In 2014, Alan Eustace climbed up to an astonishing 135,906 feet before taking a parachute back down, although he received less media attention than the previous jump got. This is the highest altitude parachute fall ever made, but Baumgartner still holds the speed and vertical distance records from his earlier jump.

The Tallest and Longest Water Slides

Not everyone is cut out to climb high in the planet’s stratosphere or jump from thousands of feet up. If you have a head for heights and a thirst for excitement but don’t want to go that high then you will find the planet’s tallest water slide in China.

The slide down Puhuasi Mountain is about 3 kilometres long and lasts for 4 minutes as it takes fun-seekers on a meandering ride. However, the fastest water slide is the 50 metre monster outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where even experienced users of tall safety ladders are likely to feel slightly dizzy.

The Highest Glider and Subsonic Human Flight

In 2018, Jim Payne and Tim Gardner flew the Perlan 2 glider to the glorious altitude of 76,000 feet. As they soared high over Argentina, they became the record-breakers in the categories of high-altitude subsonic flights and glider flights.

The previous subsonic record had been held by the Lockheed Martin U2 spy plane since way back in 1989, when it rose to 73,737 feet with Jerry Hoyt at the controls.