Charles Bryan

From rock star to skydiving extraordinaire!

Portrait of Charles Bryan just about to land with crowds watching on the ground at Signature Tower in Las Vegas 2008
© J. Klein/Red Bull Photofiles

Hi, my name is Charles Bryan. My discipline is skydiving. I was born on 13 July 1970 in Mississippi, USA. My special talent is playing guitar. The most important person in my life is my wife, Annica, and my kids. My favourite music is rock.


Born in Mississippi in 1970, Charles Bryan was a 21-year-old rocker in the process of recording an album for A&M Records when he first jumped out of a plane. By 1993, he’d ditched his rock star aspirations and had moved to Arizona to pursue skydiving full time. Today, any cursory research into the history of ‘freeflying’ will undoubtedly bring up the name Charles Bryan.

In 1997, Charles broke the world record for being the fastest human in suborbital freefall – reaching a whopping speed of 327mph! However, 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. “So I slowed myself down to a more reasonable speed first – somewhere around 150.”

Just about managing to keep this superstar’s feet on the ground back home in California are his wife, Annica, and their children, Emma and Rocket. The family is totally behind Charles’ pet project for the future: an attempt to recapture his now-broken world record. “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”.

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Career Highlights

  1. 1998
    1. Title: World’s Fastest Man

  2. 1997
    1. World Record: Fastest Human in Suborbital Freefall

  3. 1996
    1. Event Co-ordinator: Freefly Festival

    2. SSI Pro Tour World Champion