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Longest Freefall – 15 minutes, 25 miles

A 57-year-old Google engineer performed the highest human free-fall, jumping from 135,890 feet up in the stratosphere. A documentary on Netflix reveals how he did it.

  • Former Google engineer Alan Eustace broke the record for longest freefall in 2014, when he jumped from 135,890 feet.
  • He reached maximum speeds above 820 mph.
  • Eustace says he’s no daredevil: The engineer and pilot spent months doing test flights, training, and finessing the design of his special suit.
  • The feat is chronicled in the documentary “14 Minutes from Earth,” on Netflix. 

Alan Eustace holds a daredevil-ish world record: In 2014, at age 57, he performed the highest human free-fall ever.

Eustace, at the time a chief Google engineer and pilot, plunged 25 miles from the stratosphere down to Earth on October 24, 2014. From that height — in the area between the Earth and space — you can glimpse the curvature of the planet. Eustace wore just a spacesuit and helmet during his endeavor, though he deployed a life-saving parachute for the final 10,000 feet.

“I kind of liked the idea of an old, ancient engineer setting a world record for skydiving,” he told Business Insider.

The fall was 1.5 miles longer than the one Austrian base jumper and skydiver Felix Baumgartner completed in 2012. Eustace was not as speedy as Baumgartner, though — his maximum speed was about 820 mph, whereas Baumgartner reached 833 mph.

A 2016 documentary about Eustace’s journey, “14 Minutes from Earth,” is on Netflix from Atomic Entertainment. It reveals how Eustace turned stratospheric skydiving into an engineering project, developing a new space suit, assembling a team of balloon-makers, and performing test runs.

Eustace said that in the end, his fall was not a test of nerves.

“To me, daredevils are people that try to do crazy things where there’s a lot of variables that are unknown and the chances of being injured or killed are really high,” he said.

Eustace felt calm as he fell, he said, his heart beating a little faster than once per second.

“I was mostly being saved by incredible technology that my team designed,” he said. “It’s not 100% safe, but it’s as close as humans can come.”

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