From the heights of space to the deepest depths of the ocean and everything in between, British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding has lived a daring life.
Born in Hammersmith, West London, the 58-year-old runs an airline in Dubai, catering to the world’s richest by selling and buying jets.
His business has seen him amass a huge personal fortune – although his exact net worth is unclear.
What is clear, however, is his extracurricular adventures outside the corporate world that make him stand out from the crowd.
Harding has made a career out of ‘making unusual things happen’ and has three Guinness World Records as well as space travel on Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin on her resume.
In 2021, he set the world record for the longest time spent under the sea after he explored the Mariana Trench, the world’s deepest point, for four hours and 15 minutes. At the same time, he holds the record for the longest distance traversed at full ocean depth.
But it wasn’t his first world record either, with the Dubai-based businessman having previously set the mark for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe via the North and South Poles in a Gulfstream 650ER business jet in 2019.
According to Living Legends of Aviation, it was to mark the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 moon landing.
Among those taking part in the campaign is billionaire Hamish Harding, CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai. She excitedly posted on social media about being there on Sunday
Harding has made a career out of ‘making unusual things happen’ and holds three Guinness World Records. Harding is pictured with his son Giles, the youngest person to reach the South Pole
Born in Hammersmith, West London, the 58-year-old runs an airline alongside his adventures in Dubai.
John Travolta presented Hamish Harding with a Guinness World Record award following his achievement
Harding lives in Dubai with wife Linda and sons Rory, 18, and Giles, now 15, as well as their two golden retrievers.
Indeed, his world records barely scratch the surface of a life filled with danger and excitement.
Harding, who holds degrees in natural sciences and chemical engineering from Cambridge University, also holds 16 air speed records and last year became the first Briton to travel on Blue Origin’s fifth human spaceflight mission.
In 2016, he joined close friend Mr Aldrin on an expedition to Antarctica, where the astronaut became the oldest person to reach the South Pole at the age of 86.
Harding repeated the trick in 2020, returning to the South Pole with his son Giles who, at age 12, became the youngest person to reach the South Pole.
The businessman lives in Dubai with wife Linda, and sons Rory, 18, and Giles, now 15, as well as their two golden retrievers.
He has a stepdaughter named Lauren and a stepson named Brian Sage.
Harding previously said that his love of space and airplanes began when he watched the Apollo moon landings as a five-year-old.
Speaking about her daring lifestyle, Harding added: ‘People, especially when they get older, have a tendency to give up on their dreams. When I think of something unusual, I try to find a way to make it happen.’
Last year, he was awarded the Living Legends of Aviation honor by Morgan Freeman.
The award has previously been given to Mr Aldrin as well as billionaires Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
Discussing his award, Harding recently said: ”I used to read the Guinness World Records book regularly as a child.. I always wondered how I could get into it.
Speaking about her daring lifestyle, Harding added: ‘People tend to give up on their dreams, especially as they get older. When I think of something unusual, I try to find a way to make it happen’
Harding was one of five people aboard a submersible, which began its descent to the Titanic’s resting place at 4 a.m. Sunday.
Norwegian explorer Jannik Mikkelsen, pictured with Hamish Harding, whom he describes as a mentor and friend. Harding is currently missing after attempting to reach the Titanic in a submersible
Last year, he was awarded the Living Legends of Aviation honor by Morgan Freeman
In 2016, he joined close friend Buzz Aldrin on an expedition to Antarctica, where the astronaut became the oldest person to reach the South Pole at age 86.
‘I didn’t think I could do it. And I didn’t want to do something stupid, like set a record for the number of ping-pong balls bounced in one day, or something like that.’
Now, as rescuers desperately try to find him and his fellow explorers trapped inside the missing Titanic sub, his family has prayed for Harding.
However, according to Jannik Mikkelsen, a Norwegian adventurer friend, the man is probably sober.
Meanwhile, another friend, retired NASA astronaut Col. Terry Verts, shared a final text from Harding before his expedition.
The text read: ‘Hey, we’re leaving tomorrow, it’s looking good, the weather is bad so they’re looking forward to it.’
Harding was one of five people aboard a submersible, which began its descent at 4 a.m. Sunday to the Titanic’s resting place, which is about 13,000 feet below the surface.
The round trip – for which participants pay $250,000 – usually takes eight hours. But contact with the mothership was lost an hour and 45 minutes into the trip before the wreck was reached, and rescuers are now engaged in a race against time to try and recover the submarine and its crew.
Before setting sail on the Titanic tourist submarine, which is now missing, Harding told her social media followers: ‘A weather window has just opened and we’re going to try a dive tomorrow.
Harding previously said that his love of space and airplanes began when he watched the Apollo moon landings as a five-year-old
Harding, who holds degrees in natural sciences and chemical engineering from Cambridge University, also holds 16 wind speed records.
In 2021, he set the world record for the longest time under the sea after exploring the Mariana Trench, the world’s deepest point, for four hours and 15 minutes.
‘We started steaming from St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada yesterday and plan to start dive operations around 4am tomorrow. Till then we have to do a lot of preparation and briefing.’
Last night an employee of Harding’s revealed that the billionaire wanted to go on tour ‘for a long time’.
This is not the first time that Harding has faced danger on one of his expeditions.
He told an interviewer in 2021 how his submarine, the Challenger Deep, retained a damaged thruster during its journey to the ‘truly spectacular’ Mariana Trench, seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
He said: ‘The sub has a number of safety features, including four days of oxygen, water and emergency rations. The only problem is that there are no other subs able to get there to rescue you. Another one will take three years to build. So, having a four-day supply doesn’t really make a difference. If something goes wrong, you’re not coming back.’
He joined US explorer Victor Vescovo on a 12-hour dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on the ocean floor at about 36,000 feet below the surface.
Mr Vevesco then traveled with Mr Harding on a Blue Origin flight last year.
This made their Challenger the first crew to visit both deep and outer space.
Meanwhile, the air temperature in its orbit has dropped to -83C, just three degrees above the aircraft’s tolerance limit.
This forced the crew to descend to 5,000 feet to avoid catastrophic cold damage, although they were able to complete the flight.
Harding has been to space, visited both poles, circumnavigated the globe and held three Guinness World Records
Harding excitedly posted on social media about being on the mission
Harding’s post before the dive. The boat left St. John, Newfoundland on Saturday
Harding’s stepson posted on social media that she was among the missing
The Boston Coast Guard is currently searching for the missing vessel. The iconic shipwreck sits under 12,500 feet of water about 370 miles off Newfoundland, Canada.
Colonel Verts joined Harding as they made the trip in 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds, beating the previous record of 54 hours, seven minutes and 12 seconds.
‘I’m delighted,’ Harding said at the time. ‘We pushed the boundaries of aeronautics and the aircraft handled flawlessly.’
Among his other accolades, Harding helped launch the first regular business jet service to Antarctica.
And, in September 2022, his airline Action Aviation provided a customized Boeing 747-400 to transport eight wild cheetahs from Namibia to India to kick off the relaunch of the Cheetah to India project by the Government of India and the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.
Cheetahs have been extinct in India since independence in 1947.
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