Jithin Vijayan, an IT professional hailing from Kochi, India has set the new Guinness World Record for the longest outdoor freefall (2:47 minutes) with his latest jump from Tennessee, USA on 1st July. The 41-year-old has made over 140 jumps in his year-long skydiving career. Before the jump, the aircraft’s pilot brought it to his notice that he will be the first Asian to jump from this height (42,431 feet). “No one had jumped from above 30,000 feet before,” said Jithin.
Interestingly, he chose skydiving because his family was not supportive of his idea of climbing Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world because it was dangerous. He made it to the base camp in 2022 and was planning to take a year to prepare for the next summit and hold the Indian flag on the highest peak of the world. But when his family did not support his dream, he convinced them to let him venture into skydiving.
He completed the 7-level accelerated freefall skydiving training given by the United States Parachute Association to obtain a global skydiving license in November 2022. Getting his first-ever skydiving experience of a tandem jump in October 2022, and 10 months later smashing multiple records is quite an extraordinary feat. He also made two Asian records for exit from the highest altitude (42,431 feet) and the longest fall without a drogue (36,929 feet), along with the Guinness World Record. He has also established a Guinness World Record for the highest altitude skydiving with a flag (42,431 feet) for this. The World Airsports Federation official who validated the records also estimated the length of his skydive, which was just over seven minutes.
He said that his intention was never to set a world record while welcoming the accolades. “I just wanted to unfurl the Indian flag at a height above Mount Everest (29,030 feet),” he added. Next up for Vijayan is to teach others how to skydive. He is currently working to get his C-level license and will then aim for the D-level. He needs a D-level license to become a tandem jump instructor. “My aim is to tandem jump with my wife Divya and son Saurav,” says Vijayan.