This list of impressive in-flight achievements includes the smallest helicopter, largest skydiving formation, and other records that are ― no pun intended ― out of this world.
A title like ‘World’s Most Travelled Man’ might seem dubious, but Fred Finn earned it fair and square. The 72-year-old British man has logged more than 15 million air miles and visited 139 different countries during the course of his worldly travels. He also the record-holder for most Concorde flights at 718, and was the first person to make three trips on a Concorde jet in the span of a single day. They don’t call him ‘Mr. Air Miles’ for nothing.
Jules Charles Toussaint Védrines
On Feb. 22, 1912, this famous French aviator became the first person to travel at an in-flight speed of 100 miles per hour. But Jules wasn’t just content to set the record; he wanted to beat his personal best, as well. So he did just that―six times that same year. His final record-breaking flight on Sept. 9, 1912, registered a speed of 108.1 miles per hour, a record that stood for nine whole months.
In 2011, this 76-year-old inventor from Japan introduced us to the world’s smallest helicopter. Weighing in at roughly 75 kilograms (165 pounds) and rotors that measure 3.9 meters in length, the Gen H-4 can travel up to speeds of 56 miles per hour and carry a full-sized adult for about 30 minutes. The helicopter is equipped with a handlebar, footrest, and seat for its pilot ― and not much else. But man, it looks like fun.
In 2006, this crew of 440 skydivers set out to shatter the previously existing record for largest mid-air formation by nearly 100 participants. The stunt took place in the skies above Udon Thani, Thailand, to commemorate the ascension of beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. World Team nailed the formation, and their record remains unbeaten to this day.
This die-hard paramotor pilot notched the final three records on our list in less than 24 hours. In the skies over Teneriffe, Australia on May 1, 2009, Ms. Skinner notched two records―highest altitude for a female pilot (4,300 meters) and fastest time to reach 3,000 meters (29 minutes). The following day, she set a speed record of 54 kilometers per hour. She achieved all three of these feats using her signature vessel, a PAP/Advance Epsilon 6.
By Brad Nehring