High-flying alumnus Lopries breaks skydiving speed record

Kyle Lobpries

See Corpus Christi newscast on Lopries breaking skydiving speed record.

Reaching new heights, and velocities, College of Architecture graduate and U.S. Marine Kyle Lobpries ‘06 recently broke the North American record for speed skydiving, an extreme sport in which people free fall headfirst toward the earth while minimizing drag to reach the ground as fast as possible.

“The helmet shakes and it feels like your shoes are going to be ripped off your feet,” Lobpries said in an interview. “It’s the purity of it – the sky is so big and we are so small. Stepping out of that plane is definitely something that nothing else compares to.”

His most recent accomplishment was setting a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, North American record for “fastest average free fall speed” when he clocked 293.21 mph in the U.S. Parachute Association National Championships in September of 2017.  

To reach that speed, Lobpries jumped from a plane flying 13,500 feet in the air. He said he tries to line up his body to be as straight and narrow as possible to reach the highest possible terminal velocity.

Lobpries has broken world records before. On Oct. 17, 2015, he was part of a 61-person skydiving team that set a record for the largest group of wingsuit fliers. These daredevils wear a suit with fabric sections, or wings, connecting the body and arms and both legs. The team jumped from three planes at an altitude of 13,000 feet and formed a diamond as they sailed to earth over Perris, Calif.

Lobpries earned his place among the sport’s best years ago when he placed 10th at the inaugural World Cup of Wingsuit Performance Flying May 25-29, 2015 in Netheravon, UK.

In the USPA's skydiving national championships Oct. 22 and 23, 2017 a competition that measures vertical freefall speed, Lobpries zoomed to a second-place finish, reaching a top speed of more than 270 mph.

A U.S. Marine captain by day, Lobpries, who earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree at Texas A&M in 2006, pilots AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and is training to become a flight instructor at a naval air station in Corpus Christi. 

As a captain in the U.S. Marines, Lobpries has piloted Cobra attack helicopters in Afghanistan and trained Navy personnel to support overseas Marine relief operations.

He is also continuing an interest in photography that began while earning his BED and shooting for the Battalion, the campus newspaper, and Aggieland, the Texas A&M University yearbook.

 

Sarah Wilson
swilson@arch.tamu.edu

posted December 11, 2017