GREENSBURG, Ind. – Jay Stokes celebrated his 50th birthday by jumping out of an airplane — 640 times.
The veteran skydiver did it to break his own world record of 534 jumps in a 24-hour period. There was no immediate word when his new record might be confirmed by Guinness World Records.
He almost didn't reach his goal after injuring his left quadriceps muscle around his 200th jump.
"I had a little bit of a problem with an injury, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to continue, but I worked it out," Stokes said.
The pace worked out to one jump every two minutes and 15 seconds.
Dozens of volunteers, including four pilots, helped by packing his 23 chutes and flying three planes at the airport midway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. As soon as Stokes touched down after a jump from 2,100 feet, he undid the straps on one parachute and put another one on while running to the next waiting airplane.
Stokes, of Yuma, Ariz., retired in 1998 after 24 years in the Army, most of them as a member of the Green Berets. He now teaches skydiving instructors and performs in skydiving exhibitions around the world, many with Cincinnati-based Team Fastrax, said David Hart, a Fastrax skydiver who helped with the record attempt.
Stokes took pledges and contributions for his latest jumps, hoping to raise $60,000 for Special Olympics and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college scholarships to the children of special operations soldiers killed in the line of duty.