Felix Baumgartner (German: ['fe:l?ks 'bamatn?]; born 20 April 1969) is an Austrianskydiver, daredevil, and BASE jumper. He is best known for jumping to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere on 14 October 2012. Doing so, he set world records for skydiving an estimated 39 km (24 mi), reaching an estimated top speed of 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph), or Mach 1.25.[a][b] He became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power relative to the surface on his descent. He broke skydiving records for exit altitude, vertical freefall distance without drogue, and vertical speed without drogue. Though he still holds the two latter records, the first was broken two years later, when on 24 October 2014, Alan Eustace jumped from 135,890 feet--or, 41.42 km (25.74 mi) with a drogue.
Baumgartner is also renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career. Baumgartner spent time in the Austrian military where he practiced parachute jumping, including training to land on small target zones.
Tribute to Baumgartner in Straße der Sieger, Mariahilfer Street, Vienna, Austria
Felix Baumgartner was born first of two boys on 20 April 1969 (his brother is Gerard), in Salzburg, Austria. As a child, he dreamed about flying and skydiving. In 1999, he claimed the world record for the highest parachute jump from a building when he jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 20 July 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially made carbon fiber wing. Alban Geissler, who developed the SKYRAY carbon fiber wing with Christoph Aarns, suggested after Baumgartner's jump that the wing he used was a copy of two prototype SKYRAY wings sold to Red Bull (Baumgartner's sponsor) two years earlier.
Baumgartner also set the world record for the lowest BASE jump ever, when he jumped 29 metres (95 ft) from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. This jump also stirred controversy among BASE jumpers who pointed out that Baumgartner cited the height of the statue as the height of the jump even though he landed on a slope below the statue's feet, and that other BASE jumpers had previously jumped from the statue but avoided publicity.
He became the first person to BASE jump from the completed Millau Viaduct in France on 27 June 2004 and the first person to skydive onto, then BASE jump from, the Turning Torso building in Malmö, Sweden, on 18 August 2006. On 12 December 2007, he became the first person to jump from the 91st floor observation deck of the then-tallest completed building in the world, Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Red Bull Stratos
In January 2010, it was reported that Baumgartner was working with a team of scientists and sponsor Red Bull to attempt the highest sky-dive on record.
On 15 March 2012, Baumgartner completed the first of 2 test jumps from 21,818 metres (71,581 ft). During the jump, he spent approximately 3 minutes and 43 seconds in free fall, reaching speeds of more than 580 km/h (360 mph), before opening his parachute. In total, the jump lasted approximately eight minutes and eight seconds and Baumgartner became the third person to safely parachute from a height of over 21.7 km (13.5 mi).
On 25 July 2012, Baumgartner completed the second of two planned test jumps from 29,460 metres (96,640 ft). It took Baumgartner about 90 minutes to reach the target altitude and his free fall was estimated to have lasted three minutes and 48 seconds before his parachutes were deployed.
The launch was originally scheduled for 9 October 2012 but was aborted due to adverse weather conditions. Launch was rescheduled and the mission instead took place on 14 October 2012 when Baumgartner landed in eastern New Mexico after jumping from a then world-record 38,969.3 metres (127,852 feet) and falling a record distance of 36,402.6 metres (119,431 feet); the altitude record was broken by Alan Eustace in 2014. Baumgartner also set the record for fastest speed of free fall at 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph), making him the first human to break the sound barrier outside a vehicle. Baumgartner was in free fall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, 17 seconds short of mentor Joseph Kittinger's 1960 jump.
In October 2012, when Baumgartner was asked in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung whether a political career was an option for his future life, he stated that the "example of Arnold Schwarzenegger" showed, that "you can't move anything in a democracy" and that he would opt for a "moderate dictatorship [...] led by experienced personalities coming from the private (sector of the) economy". He finally stated he "didn't want to get involved in politics."
On 6 November 2012, Baumgartner was convicted of battery and was fined EUR1500 after slapping the face of a Greek truck driver, following a petty argument between the two men.
In January 2016, Baumgartner provoked a stir of critical news coverage in his home country after posting several critical remarks against refugees and recommending the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for the Nobel Peace Prize. Later on, Baumgartner endorsed the presidential candidate of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria, Norbert Hofer. On 13 July 2016, Facebook deleted his fan page of 1.5 million fans. Baumgartner subsequently claimed that he must have become "too uncomfortable" for "political elites".
After Austrian authorities refused to grant sports tax breaks to Baumgartner, he moved to Arbon, Switzerland, whereupon his house in Salzburg and his helicopter were seized.
Baumgartner dated Playboy German playmate of the century Gitta Saxx. Later he was engaged to Nicole Öttl, a model and former beauty queen (Miss Lower Austria 2006). They broke up in 2013.
Alan Eustace -- surpassed Baumgartner's record of highest jump on 24 October 2014 from 135,890 feet (41,420 m).
Eugene Andreyev -- the former record holder for the longest-distance free fall jump.
Joseph Kittinger -- set records for highest balloon ascent and highest parachute jump; adviser and capsule communicator to Baumgartner.
Michel Fournier -- who has been working on a 25-mile (40 km) jump for several years.
Nick Piantanida -- flew highest balloon flight prior to Baumgartner: 123,500-foot (37,600 m) in 1966.
Project Manhigh -- pre-NASA military project that took men in balloons to the middle layers of Earth's stratosphere. Participants set altitude and parachute jump records.
Pyotr Dolgov -- died in 1962 carrying out a high-altitude jump.
Charles "Nish" Bruce -- In the early 1990s, Kittinger played lead role assisting him to break the highest altitude record. The project was suspended in 1994 following Bruce's mental health breakdown.
Steve Truglia -- English stuntman who was planning a similar jump.
^The FAI ratified the 3 world records claimed by Austrian parachutist Felix Baumgartner for Maximum Vertical Speed without drogue (#16669) 1,357.6 kilometres per hour (843.6 mph), Exit Altitude (#16670) 38,969.4 metres (127,852 ft), and Vertical Distance of Freefall (#16671) 36,402.6 metres (119,431 ft). 14 October 2012 flight did not break the FAI Absolute Altitude (#2325) record for balloon flight set in 1961 by Malcolm Ross, which requires the balloonist to descend with the balloon.
^Baumgartner's mother's name has also been reported as Ava.
Dittrich, Luke (14 July 2010). "The Man Who Would Fall to Earth". Esquire. p. 4. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 2012. he leapt from the outstretched hand of O Cristo Redentor, the ninety-eight-foot-tall statue that looms over Rio de Janeiro... the final product was... a world record -- lowest BASE jump ever
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