Fearless Felix!

AUSTRIAN DAREDEVIL SETS FREE FALL RECORD Somebody cue Tom Petty … because this stunt takes “Free Falling” to a whole new level.  Literally. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner became the first human being to break the speed of sound during a record-setting free fall from 128,000 feet this week.  Baumgartner, 43,…


Somebody cue Tom Petty … because this stunt takes “Free Falling” to a whole new level.  Literally.

Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner became the first human being to break the speed of sound during a record-setting free fall from 128,000 feet this week.  Baumgartner, 43, reached a maximum speed of 833.9 miles per hour (Mach 1.24) during his fall above the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.

His jump – a.k.a. Operation Red Bull Stratos –  also broke a world record for the highest manned balloon flight.  It was watched live by more than 8 million viewers on YouTube.

“Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are,” Baumgartner said prior to stepping off of the metal platform of a capsule suspended beneath his balloon.

“I’m coming home now,” he said, saluting.

Then he jumped …

(Click to play)

Insane, isn’t it?

Baumgartner, who is known as “Fearless Felix,” actually isn’t without fear.  He suffers from claustrophobia – and had to work with a sports psychologist to prepare for the two-and-a-half hour ride he took in the tiny capsule to the edge of space.  Baumgartner also had to deal with a nasty spin during his free fall that team leaders feared would cause him to lose consciousness.

“I never felt like I was going to die, but I did think that if I don’t get myself out of this (spin) I won’t break the speed of sound,” he told USA Today. “That would have been a big disappointment because I just don’t have any energy left to do this again.”

BBC will soon be airing a two-hour special devoted to Baumgartner’s jump – and the two test jumps that preceded it (one from 71,581 feet, the other from 96,650 feet).

We salute him … this is one of the most amazing feats we’ve ever witnessed.


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Mike Traynor October 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm


sid October 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I imagine the most uncomfortable aspect of the feat came after he landed, while he waited for those giant balls to drop back into the sack. I don’t care who you are, there’s no way he could have kept them from sucking up into “safety” once he stepped off that ledge.

BigT October 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

An American w/ courage doing something extrordinary. Have not seen that for about 4 years…

It’s inspiring…

This is a GREAT country when we think BIG. and that’s just around the corner. The nightmare will soon be over…

Get ready: I expect us to Bust out then….

Sailor October 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hate to tell you this Big T(urd), but Felix is an Austrian! You did read Fits article, didn’t you?

sid October 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

He’s not American.

vicupstate October 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

He might be an Australian but if he had failed, it would have been Obama’s fault. Right Big T.

SparkleCity October 16, 2012 at 9:37 am

yeah, and it took a non-American to do it

He’s Austrian

sid October 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

Actually, there’s not a chance that he’s Australian, vic. You pay as much attention to the details as the obsession.

Common Sense October 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

“Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner” CNN..”hard to top Sunday’s riveting leap from the stratosphere by Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner.”

once again right on with the facts little sid..

sid October 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

Are you having as much difficulty reading, CS, as you normally do? Vic said A-u-s-t-r-a-l-i-a-n, NOT A-u-s-t-r-i-a-n. You do realize that Australia and Austria are two completely different countries, don’t you? Or maybe you are even dumber than I thought, which would really be hard, considering how dumb I think you are.

upstate October 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

balloon was not of the hot air variety, it was helium.

Todd October 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Paul Ryan already made this jump at 130,000 feet and fell at 933 mph. #talesfromplanetkolob

Destiny Now October 16, 2012 at 3:46 am


sam October 16, 2012 at 7:00 am

DAAAANG! Es Gut, yah?

Smirks October 16, 2012 at 8:18 am


the dude October 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

Joe Kittenger USAF did this back in the 1960’s as part of USAF research

from over 100K feet…he has my vote for the true hero.

SparkleCity October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am

The REAL story BEHIND ths story

A retired US Air Force officer (Kittenger) damn near accomplished the same feat back in ~1956 under almost the exact situation.

In fact Kittenger coached “Fearless” and has been on hand during “Fearless’ previous jumps.

Kittenger was part of the high altitude balloon experiments back in the late 50’s (one was Project Manhigh)

I have a tape of the History Channel’s show on Kittenger & Col. Stepps high altitude balloon flights (again back when The History Channel was worth a damn). There is a book I’m going to check out called “The Pre-Astrtonauts” about Col. Stepp and Kittenger

Discovery Channel was supposed to show the jump live but by the time I caught the show, it was over.

I did see the video portion of him spinning and it is a remarkable feat.

Can’t wait to see the entire BBS film.

Soft Sigh from Hell October 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

I have long wondered, can fighter pilots eject (and survive) at very high speed, such as faster than sound, or does a 1000 mph damaged fighter jet have to slow down to 200-300 mph before he can(semi)safely punch out?

SparkleCity October 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I was military aircrew (cargo/transport) and not a jet pilot but from what I recall during my initial flight physiology class & refreshers (Altitude Chamber) and reading about bailouts/ejections since I was a boy, ejecting at anything above 400 – 500 mph is basically fatal or can cause serious injury.

High speed/altitude ejections was one of the main reasons for Kettneger & Stepps research back in the late 50’s – if not the main reason.

That being said, the B-58 “Hustler” (late 50’s-mid 60’s supersonic USAF bomber & one sweet looking airplane) was equipped with an ejection “capsule” for the 3 crew members. They flew in tandem and had a ejection seat/capsule for each crewmember. The capsule was designed to protect them during high speed ejections but I haven’t read if any ejected at supersonic speed. A number of B-58’s did crash but usually on takeoff so that was not a factor or it happened so fast they did not eject. That was one bad/fast plane though…………

A XB-70 crashed and the test pilot ejected at fairly low speed (hit by a F-104 flying escort during a photo shoot) and he was in the same type of capsule that was equipped in the B-58.

During Vietnam, a number of pilots were seriously injured during ejection after being hit by missles,etc but I don’t recall reading that they ejected at supersonic speed.

Basicaly if your plane is about to crash or self destruct you are probably going to try to eject no matter what the speed but if you are much above 400 mph it’s going to be hard on you and you very well might not walk away.

SparkleCity October 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

Go Cocks;

yep & glad to inform

Everything we are writing on this subject is 100% fact

Not one word of BS

I may disagree with some posters & the blog from time to time but I also learn something every day.

FITS is a good way to keep up with all the BS that is South Carolina politics although it seems like noone can really do much about the current state of affairs in the state of South Carolina.

Like the nation, polarization is alive and well in South Carolina and accelerating at a rapid pace.

It bodes ill for the country.

This state needs young Fritz Hollings, Dr. Tom Barton, Bob Inglis (who finally came around and called BS on a lot of the far right crazies {it’s not too late to run as an Independent Bob}) types to get this state pointed in the right direction.

sid October 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

Check out the story of Lt Col William Rankin. He didn’t fall from anywhere close to the same height, but he also wasn’t planning to. He’s also done something that nobody else has ever done–parachuting through a cumulonimbus tower, and surviving.

SparkleCity October 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

That was the pilot who “rode out the storm” – hanging in a parachute for something like an hour – Right?

I remember reading about that & I think I recall seeing him on Johnny Carson one time.

It is one hell of a story.

sid October 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Not sure how long he was in the air, but yeah, it was during a storm. During his fall, he recalls being treated like a yo-yo, as the wind in the cloud formation played havoc with him. I think he was a little short of an hour in the air, but at that altitude, anything more than a few minutes is probably life-threatening.

Go Cocks! October 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Nice history lesson gentlemen. Even on this site you learn something new every day.

xx chromosome October 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

“Sexiest Man on Earth” should be next People magazine cover…

MajorC October 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hell, in 1960 I ordered a “weather ballon” kit from the back of a comic book. We made a launch tower in a tall pine tree from scrap lumber we found at some new houses being built in the neighborhood.

We fashioned a small capsule from a 1950’s red Coke A Cola metal ice chest. It had a gasket sealed window and door. My sister had a pet cynomolgus monkey, but we could not convince her to let us use her pet to advance the study of the biological effects of primates in space travel.

Instead, I filled the Coke space capsule with cedar shavings and enlisted my hamster, Albert vonYorik. The ballon was filled with helium that we procured from my best friend’s dad. He owned a refrigerator and welding shop. The oxygen was supplied to the capsue by dropping these oxygen metal tabs into a canister of water. We got the metal tabs from a bait shop. The tabs were used to keep minnows alive in your bait bucket.

I’m not sure how high the balloon reached because we didn’t have enough money to buy an altimeter. Shinning shoes and an afternoon paper route didn’t generate a lot of cash. However, a military jet from NAS Jax, in Florida, responded that he saw a Coke cooler leaving 59,000 ft.

The ballon landed 26 miles away in a cow pasture. Our telephone number was painted on the side of the capsule. When we got there the farmer and Albert vonYorik were both chewing on a carrot.
My hamster lived another year and half and as far as I could tell he suffered no ill effects from his high altitude ride. In fact, he sired a few more offspring, but none followed him in his footsteps.


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