Bear Grylls:

Skydiving with a Twist

Bear Grylls has been entertaining us with his survival challenges and hair-raising stunts for over 15 years. In that time, he has produced a wide range of adventure programmes where he pits himself, and often celebrities, against the elements.

Those celebrities are often challenged to perform the very same stunts Bear is known for, and a lot of those have involved the use of a helicopter. Our unique skills and experience at providing helicopter stunts have led to us to have become a regular appearance over the years. These include rappelling Michael B Jordon into the sea and rescuing a sheep out of a quarry with Rob Brydon.

In September he came to us with something new, he wanted to skydive out of one of our helicopters at 10,000 ft. In true Bear Grylls fashion, this wasn’t going to be enough, to add an extra level of jeopardy to the challenge, he wanted to climb down out of the helicopter and hang from the skids. He planned to not do this alone; his son Jesse would be joining him in the stunt.

For most people this would but enough, but not for Bear. Hanging off the bottom of a helicopter 10,000 ft in the air simply would not be dangerous enough for the British adventurer. So, in preparation for the jump, he challenged Jesse to pack his parachute for him. Blindfolded! Packing someone else’s chute is a massive responsibility and to do so blindfolded, well, that’s just Bear Grylls for you.

After Jesse had packed Bear’s parachute, they joined Will Banks at our H125 (G-TVGB) and got ready to lift. They began the climb up to 10,000 ft where Will brought the helicopter to a hover ready for the skydive.

Capable of a maximum altitude of 23,000 ft (7,010 m), the H125 has no trouble getting to this altitude. However, in 2005, it broke the world record for the highest altitude landing and take-off at 29,029 ft (8,848 m) on Mount Everest.

Sliding open the door, Bear climbed down out of the helicopter while Will kept the aircraft steady, and then lowered himself further to hang off the skid. He was shortly followed by Jesse before they both let go and hurtled towards the ground.

A minute of freefall later and Bear’s parachute opened without a hitch, as did Jesse’s. But Bear’s challenge wasn’t over just yet. There had to be a winner in this stunt, and that would be whoever landed closer to a target in a nearby field. Landing much closer to the target, Jesse was the clear winner, leading Bear to cheat by running to the marker with his parachute still deployed.

Performing this skydive stunt required us to be granted special permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As with all our stunt work, we always ensure we have the appropriate permissions from the CAA before the project begins.