Menu Close

Longest Duration in Freefall – 4 min 36 secs

Joseph Kittinger holds the record for longest-duration free fall, at 4 minutes and 36 seconds, which he accomplished during his 1960 jump from 102,800 feet (31.3 km).


Joseph William Kittinger II (July 27, 1928 – December 9, 2022) was an officer in the United States Air Force (USAF) who served from 1950 to 1978, and earned Command Pilot status before retiring with the rank of colonel. He held the world record for the highest skydive—102,800 feet (31.3 km)—from 1960 until 2012.

He participated in the Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior high-altitude balloon flight projects from 1956 to 1960 and was the first man to fully witness the curvature of the Earth.

A fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, Kittinger shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-21 jet fighter. He was later shot down as well, subsequently spending 11 months as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison before he was repatriated in 1973.

In 1984, he became the first person to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon.

In 2012, Kittinger participated in the Red Bull Stratos project as capsule communicator at age 84, directing Felix Baumgartner on his 24-mile (39 km) freefall from Earth’s stratosphere, which broke Kittinger’s own 53-year-old record. Baumgartner’s record would be broken two years later by Alan Eustace.

Read the Life Article.