Jumping from a plane with nothing but a parachute wasn’t enough for Miles Daisher, so he decided to sky-dive while sitting in a kayak. Leaping from a bridge over and over again is a good way to train for BASE jumps. But that also wasn’t enough, so he decided on a narrower approach.
On Thursday, the 43-year-old BASE jump and sky-dive veteran hurled himself from the rafters of the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, with only 230 feet between him and the polished floor.
It only took 13 seconds, but the 19-story fall was enough time to experience just about every emotion — and to briefly reassess his career.
“When you start to come in for a landing when you sky-dive, that’s where you start your BASE jump,” he said, alluding to the fact that BASE jumpers leap from far lesser heights than skydivers. “I didn’t want to crash in front of everybody. My heart wants to jump out of my chest, and I feel like I’m melting a little bit.”
With early afternoon sun streaming through the atrium’s massive glass windows, the skyline of Old Town Alexandria in the distance, Mr. Daisher jumped. For at least a second, he fell like a stone before his white parachute opened and he glided across the cavernous room, triumphantly landing just shy of his target.
“I love to fall,” he said between high-fives with friends and hugs from his three young children. “It seemed like forever in the air, though.”
The jump was the 3,300th BASE-style fall for Mr. Daisher, who lives in Twin Falls, Idaho, with his wife Nikki and their three young children. And that doesn’t count the more than 5,000 sky-dives he’s landed since his first jump Sept. 6, 1995.
“He trains hard for what he loves to do,” Mrs. Daisher said.”It’s exciting. For the most part I trust his visions. Today went really well.”
Mr. Daisher practices for his BASE jumps by hurling himself off ledges near his home, but every stunt is different. The daredevil team sponsored by Red Bull energy drink is the same one behind Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking 24-mile free fall from the Earth’s stratosphere last year.
Thursday’s BASE jump also set a record for taking place in the most narrow confines — something Mr. Daisher said was a bit nerve-wracking, knowing there was little room for error.
“Coming in on a 30-by-30 spot, that’s what parachutists have to land 10 out of 10 times to go pro,” he said.
Mr. Daisher wasn’t the only one with reservations.
When he and the Red Bull Air Force team approached the hotel, general manager Richard Morse told them, “We’re not doing it.”
“It was a bit scary,” Mr. Morse said. But after some convincing — and a multimillion-dollar insurance policy — Mr. Daisher got the go-ahead.
The carefully orchestrated jump put an exclamation point on the announcement that the National Harbor hotel is set to host the Red Bull Flugtag in September, an event during which teams build flying machines in all manner of shapes, sizes and themes and compete to see which can travel the farthest.