When you're setting the world record for fastest freefall ever, there are certain things you want to avoid: like pulling your parachute too soon. : "If I'd pulled when I was going 327 miles per hour, I would have been ripped to shreds," says a matter-of-fact Charles Bryan, the man who set that mark in 1997, "so I slowed myself down to a more reasonable speed first, somewhere around 150."
Born in Mississippi in 1970, Charles was in the process of recording a rock album for A&M Records when, as a 21-year-old, he first jumped out of a plane. By 1993 he'd moved to Arizona to pursue the sport full time; and today, any cursory research into the history of freeflying will bring up the name Charles Bryan. Keeping this superstar's feet on the ground at home in California are his wife Annica and their children Emma and Rocket, and the family is totally behind Charles's pet project for the future: an attempt to recapture his now-broken Guinness World Record by once again becoming the fastest non-powered human on the planet. "My goal is to blow it out," Charles asserts. "With skill and technology, I think I may be able to reach 400 miles per hour."