16 August 1960 — Captain Joseph Kittinger, USAF stepped from the gondola of his high altitude helium balloon and began a record-breaking plunge to the ground, over 120, 000 ft below.  With a drogue chute deployed to stabilize his freefall (a lesson-learned form the first jump) he reached a maximum velocity of 614 mph before opening his chute at 18,000 ft.



Don’t know about you, but it makes my palms sweat….

By the way, Capt. Kittinger went on to serve not one, but three combat tours in Vietnam, with a total of 483 missions – the first two years flying the COIN version of the A-26 Invader, and on the third, flying the F-4D Phantom II as CO of the 555th Fighter Squadron.  During the third tour he was credited with shooting down a MiG-21, and just before his tour was up, was shot down and taken prisoner on 11 May 1972.


  1. You know he is working with a guy who is planning to break this record this year…and break the speed of sound in freefall…..

  2. Affirm — you’ll briefly see the two of them together in the film near the end…

  3. Bill K

    They imply the practical application might be astronauts ejecting and free-falling to low-altitude safety. But wouldn’t heating be a killer at max v. from orbit vis a vis balloon?

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