World record high above Lake Achensee
It was freezing cold on the ground and the day offered the best conditions for a special record attempt. On 21 January 2020, Mike Küng took to the skies in the Achensee hot-air balloon from the parking lot of the Christlum lifts in Achenkirch, ready to leap into the world record books. At an altitude of 7,100 metres, Mike Küng, who hails from Vorarlberg, climbed over the edge of the basket and let himself fall headfirst into the depths. Insiders call this a “head-over”, which nobody ever did before. Küng landed near the Bavarian town of Bad Tölz.
The technique – challenging and spectacular
Paragliders often jump from hot-air balloons dropping from underneath the basket with the glider packed in a D-bag. This time, however, Küng did a head-over, which means that he jumped directly out of the basket. “The special thing about a head-over is the particularly intense feeling of jumping and free falling that you don’t experience with a D-bag. A head-over is also a bigger challenge when it comes to technique,” says Küng. The new world record holder completed the balloon ride and head-over jump without supplemental oxygen.
About Mike Küng
Mike Küng has been a fixture in the paragliding scene for many years: Born in Vorarlberg, he has performed high-altitude paragliding since 1987. In 2000, Küng achieved his international breakthrough with his victory at the Acro World Championship in the USA. This triumph was followed by paragliding across the English Channel in 2003, and the following year he set an altitude record jumping from a hot-air balloon (10,110 metres).