A spot on the Red Bull Air Force team does not come easy. The pilots of the RBAF not only have the talent to be the best in parachute sports, they’ve also developed the skill and know-how to do amazing things in the air knowing that they’re executing a thoughtfully prepared plan. It’s not a run-and-gun environment, but one that ensures the safest conditions and delivers the maximum level of stoke.
Miles Daisher is a veteran of the RBAF, with over 20 years of skydiving experience under his belt. He recently achieved an impressive milestone with his 4,000th BASE jump, and he told us a bit about it below.
Watch Daisher’s 4,000th BASE jump POV video:
RedBull.com: When did you make your first BASE jump?
Miles Daisher: July 27, 1997 was my first, and it was just hook, line and sinker, man. I thought, “This is the coolest thing you could possibly do — let’s figure out a way to continue doing it.” I’ve been logging my jumps like a pilot would log flight hours so I can learn from what I’m doing. That’s why I know the exact numbers, and number 4,000 was in Moab. It was a good way to do the 4,000th, because I do a lot of jumps off the Perrine Bridge in Idaho — I probably have 3,000 off that bridge alone, so I didn’t want to do my 4,000th off of that. It was just a beautiful place, and Moab has legal BASE jumping.
How do you compare with other BASE jumpers at 4,000?
There’s only one person in the world who has 4,000 jumps. The second-most is Mauritzio De Palma, and he has 3,600. Behind him is Christopher MacDougal at 3,400.
Is the Perrine Bridge the reason you have so many jumps on your resumé?
Oh yeah, my numbers are big because of the bridge for sure. It’s legal to BASE jump from — you can jump there all day, every day. I moved there for the bridge, and for my wife and family — she was born and raised there. Everybody’s happy, and I can just zip over to the bridge and put my smile on and just enjoy life to the fullest — and then some.
How did you get your start?
My dad was in the Air Force while I was growing up, so I’ve been around air shows and flying my whole life. But when I saw a guy fly a parachute into a field and land right in front of us that just kind of changed everything. From there, I knew that someday I was doing that. That day came on Sept. 6, 1995 in Davis, California. I did 11 jumps that weekend and was cleared off student status and jumped on my own after that.
How do you plan a jump?
Well, you not only want to know if you have enough altitude to jump and deploy the parachute, but also to fly a pattern to a nice, safe landing zone. The landing is not really talked about enough in BASE jumping I think, because to me that’s the biggest part of the jump. The tricks that people are throwing in the air are rad, but if you don’t land it clean and stand it up and be able to walk away afterward, how are you going to progress to the next level? So I kind of look at every jump from the landing backwards, up to the jump point. I lay out the whole trajectory first.
You have to look at the winds; when the parachute comes off your back and inflates it’s susceptible to different wind patterns. Wind will wrap around buildings and create little spirals that can affect your chute, so you have to be really knowledgeable about what the winds are doing and how they’re affected by the objects around.
Watch another BASE jump from Daisher — inside a hotel:
What are some of the highlights from your 4,000 BASE jumps?
I’ve jumped off of over 200 different objects. I got an opportunity to jump the Troll Wall [in Norway] with Shane McConkey. That was the most inspiring place I’ve jumped. One of the coolest was an indoor BASE jump off the Gaylord Hotel outside Washington, D.C. It was 170 feet to impact, 210 feet to the landing area — you had to turn under this glass atrium to get to the landing area. I did 86 BASE jumps off the Perrine bridge to prep myself for the jump. I trained in rain and snow all winter and spring, and then in April I got to do the jump. We kicked off National Red Bull Flugtag day with that. Five or six months of training for 19 seconds in the air.
Buildings to me are some of the coolest things, because I’ve been really fortunate to have opportunities to jump some of the most amazing buildings. We’ve jumped the Hyatt in San Diego, the Four Seasons in Denver, and last year we jumped the Princess Tower in Dubai. It’s taller than the Empire State Building, and we had ziplines running off of it.
See Daisher and friends jump from the Princess Tower:
I’m sure people bring up the risks of what you do quite often; what do you say to them?
Everybody dies right? But does everybody live? You can be as safe or as dangerous as you want to be in life. I don’t want to do crazy, reckless stuff but I do want to enjoy a little danger in my life. I always say, “Know fear,” not with an “n” but a “k.” Know it, because fear helps you survive. If you’re not scared, you’re fooling yourself and you’re a reckless daredevil. You need to know why you’re afraid. My goal is to be 80 years old, sitting on a porch in a rocking chair telling stories that no one will believe and backing it up with a DVD. You can do something dangerous safely if you pay attention and do your homework. Don’t cut corners. Always leave yourself an out.
Do you still have more to learn after 20 years of skydiving?
Oh yeah. Even at the bridge, where you’re jumping off the same object over and over, people ask me, “Doesn’t it get boring?” No. There are so many things you can do, so many things we haven’t even thought of doing yet. But you need to learn and understand what you’re doing before you do it. You have to put it all together and constantly be training. I’m still learning, and that’s the beautiful thing.