While there have been jumpers who have recorded much greater speeds than the forementioned list, these were special projects and stunts performed for the purpose of research and entertainment. These required helium balloons to carry the jumpers into the stratosphere – as high as 135,890 feet (41.42 km). Doing so allowed them to take advantage of an incredible thin atmosphere, becoming the first humans to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle.
(2012) Felix Baumgartner – 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph)
The 4th FAI World Speed Skydiving Championships were held at Skydive Arizona in Eloy Arizona, USA on October 21st – 24th. A total of 32 competitors from nine countries attended. At the world level Speed Skydiving has four categories: Open, Female, Male, and National Team. Many of the competitors set new personal bests, which resulted in 34 records currently being reviewed and ratified.
Open & Male
Marco Hepp from Germany maintained a decisive lead throughout the entire competition, posting numbers no one had seen before or anticipated. Becoming the first person to break the 520km/h barrier and doing so in all 8 rounds. He raised the bar of the sport by set a new General World Record at 529.77km/h and averaging 527.19 km/h.
What a nail-biter!
A fierce fight for the two remaining podium slots. Second through six place saw dramatic changes as the competition unfolded. AXIS Flight School’s Niklas Daniel started out in 6th place and fought his way up to 2nd by the last round. With a total of 4089.74km/h (2541.25 mph), averaging 511.22km/h (317.66 mph) Nik’s new personal best of 520.87km/h (323.65 mph) earned him three records: North American, National, and Arizona State records. In addition, he is only the second person after Marco Hepp to break the 520km/h barrier in competition.
A tremendous accomplishment by Jimmy McCarthy from Great Britain for being the third person in the world in breaking 500km/h in 8 consecutive rounds. Also, a new Junior Record (24 years of age or younger) was set by Massimo Caramel from Italy, reaching a speed of 508.08km/h.Congratulations Jimmy and Massimo!
There was a total of four female speeders: Last year’s World Champion Maxine Tate (USA), Natisha Dingle (AUS), Ingrid van Deelen (NED), and Susana Leal (SWE). The standings throughout the meet remained mostly solid. Natisha took first with a total of 3825.44km/h and a new Female World Record of 491.99km/h.
National Team Event
In the team event, the United States (Anthony Landgren, Niklas Daniel, Kyle Lobpries) maintained the lead throughout the entire competition, taking gold in the end with a combined total of 12048.84km/h. Germany (Marco Hepp, Thorsten Morhaus, Matthias Kraft) came in second followed by Australia (Shane Turner, Natisha Dingle, Bruno Chagas).
Over the course of two days, the competitors completed 8 jumps to attempt their fastest terminal velocity. This is measured by a Speed Measuring Device (SMD) worn on their helmets. This device records GPS positioning and the judges use the data to view the speeds reached on each jump. The fastest 3 consecutive seconds recorded during a jump determines the final score. The competitor with the highest accumulative score at the end of the meet wins. For more information about speed skydiving, check out the USPA Skydiving Competition Manual (SCM Chapter 15).
Nik took first place with a total of 4,043.62kmh (2512.59mph), averaging 505.5kmh (314.10mph). He is only the second person, after Marco Hepp during the German Nationals 10Sep22, to consistently break the 500kmh barrier in all 8 rounds. 2021 World Champion Kyle Lobpries reached a total of 4,021.04 (avg 502.6kmh) for second place, and TJ Landgren got third with a total of 3,865.45kmh (avg 483.2kmh).
In addition, Brianne and Nik set two Illinois state records with their highest scoring rounds in the female and open categories respectively:
Brianne – 395.20kmh / 245.57mph
Nik – 509.45kmh / 316.56mph
Both Nik and Brianne secured their slots on the USA Speed Team for the 2023 World Cup in Prostejov, Czech Republic.