164 skydivers set record for largest vertical formation

Red Bull skydive world record chicago 164 person formation

Skydivers assembled by Red Bull broke a world record last Friday by assembling into a 164-way vertical formation. Photo: Red Bull

A week ago, 164 skydivers jumped out of airplanes headfirst 80 miles south of Chicago and while free falling, assembled into the world’s largest-ever vertical diving formation, smashing the world record of 138 divers set in 2012. Today, Red Bull posted video of the historic stunt:

It took 13 attempts to break the record, but eventually the divers were able to assemble into a 164-way formation while reaching speeds of up to 175 mph. Divers for the stunt were chosen from training camps in Spain, Australia and the United States, and representatives from around the globe helped Red Bull smash the record.

Red Bull Air Force team member Mike Swanson and Jon Devore, who were the co-organizers of the event, explained that once in the air, the divers only had a little more than a minute to assemble their formation.

“[We had] around 60 to 80 seconds,” Swanson said. “We were exiting between 18,000 and 19,000 feet, and the first wave of people leaving the formation was at 7,500 feet.”

“A typical skydive at any drop zone in the world is at 13,000 feet,” Devore said. “So we were giving ourselves an extra 6,000 feet, giving us around another 25 seconds.”

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In order to practice, Swanson said the divers would take repetitions walking into formation while standing on the ground prior to the leap, and that while it may look chaotic, it’s, “all planned out on paper and very specific.”

As for their next attempt at a world record, Devore said it will involve over 200 people.

“There's no way we'd do it if we didn't break the 200 mark, we're way too close to it.”

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