The extreme and world-record adventures of Larry Connor, Dayton businessman and outdoor enthusiast

Larry Connor, CEO of Miami Twp.-based real estate investment firm The Connor Group, is known to go to the extremes to find his next adventure.

The Ohio University graduate is a pilot and member of the International Aerobatic Club who has been involved in aerobatic competitions, off-road racing and circuit racing.

He recently announced plans to take a submersible down more than two miles to visit the Titanic.

Connor will work with Florida submersible operator Patrick Lahey to journey in a two-person vessel more than two miles beneath the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean to visit the wreckage of the Titanic, Connor told the Wall Street Journal.

The pair will take a $20 million vessel called the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer to visit the wreckage site.

Here are some of his other attention-grabbing ventures chronicled by the Dayton Daily News.

World-record HALO jump

In 2023, Connor went with four U.S Air Force Special Tactics pararescuemen as they ascended to a height of 38,067 feet in a massive hot air balloon.

The quintet — whose quest was called the Alpha 5 Project — then positioned themselves onto the ledge of the basket and jumped out into the dead air, some 7.2 miles above the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.

Using pressurized equipment to breathe and with the temperature around them near minus-50 degrees, they began a world record effort as they plummeted back to Earth as they reached speeds of nearly 190 mph.

Eventually, he and the four others were able to link arms and make a human circle. They held the formation for 11 seconds before breaking apart and finally deploying their canopies and landing in a stacked formation less than 25 meters apart, but some 14 miles from where they’d jumped.

A Guinness World Records observer in attendance validated their jump, which set multiple world records.

International Space Station

In 2022, Connor was a member of the crew in AxiomSpace’s first all-private commercial human space flight to the International Space Station. The team performed more than 25 experiments, more than 100 hours of research, and 30 outreach events to students and other audiences worldwide.

He spent 17 days in space, much of it looking down at Earth from some 250 miles away aboard the ISS.

The Axiom1 venture included former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who served as the commander, and mission specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel and Mark Pathy of Canada.

Connor said the trip wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

“We ran so hard, so intensely, those first five, six, seven days – we were working 14 hours a day with experiments and research projects we were doing – that when we got to the end of the stated mission, we really hadn’t had an opportunity to experience everything,” he said at the time.

During the trip, the crew conducted 25 research projects.

Connor said the ride back down to Earth was one he will never forget:

“We were falling out of the sky fast. “We were a house on fire coming down! It was so exhilarating!”

Exploring ocean depths

In 2021, Connor was a passenger on a vessel that made three deep dives in five days at the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific Ocean, some 200 miles from Guam.

“The trip was phenomenal,” Connor told the Dayton Daily News at the time. “It’s a different world down there.”

Sitting shoulder to shoulder with Patrick Lahey in a 5.5--by 5-foot submersible called the DSV Limiting Factor, he explored the deepest ocean points in the world. The first dive was to the Challenger Deep, 35,856 feet below sea level. Then came a trip to Sirena Deep at 35,150 feet and a third dive was made along an extinct volcano, just over 25,000 feet underwater.

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

He said it takes 4½ hours just to get down to the ocean floor in Challenger Deep.

“Once you get below 600 feet, it’s pitch black,” he said. “So for 4 hours and 20 minutes of the 4½-hour descent you’re in darkness.”

After his dive, Connor said he wanted to make a difference.

“Maybe they’ll say ‘Well, that guy was just an average, normal guy from Dayton, Ohio, who ended up doing some extraordinary things. So why can’t I do that?’

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