A leap from the edge of space

posted at 12:10 pm on February 7, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

42 year old Felix Baumgartner is currently warming up for an attempt to step into the pages of history. (Note: this isn’t a particularly political story, but one that’s of great personal interest to me.) The Austrian daredevil plans to take a stab at one of the oldest standing records in what are now referred to as “extreme sports” by making a parachute jump from more than twenty miles up.

It will be one giant leap for man – and leave the rest of mankind dizzy at the thought. The world’s most daring skydiver is preparing to jump out of a balloon on the edge of space.

Felix Baumgartner, 42, hopes to break an altitude record which has lasted more than 50 years.

He plans to dive 120,000ft – nearly 23 miles – from the adapted weather balloon full of helium. It should take 35 seconds to break the sound barrier and ten minutes in all, reaching more than 690mph.

Baumgartner will not deploy his parachute until he is less than 5,000ft from the ground and he must rely on an astronaut suit and oxygen tanks to keep him alive.

This story has great personal interest to me, mostly because I was a sport skydiver when I was younger. Pretty much anyone who has engaged in that activity is familiar with the record Baumgartner is looking to break because it’s held by somebody most of us consider a hero, Capt. Joe Kittinger. You might think such a feat was accomplished recently in the era of Mountain Dew, Red Bull and crazy stunts. But Capt. Joe actually performed the feat on a clear December day all the way back in 1960.

The Air Force was studying the effects of extreme high altitude flights, (which would come in handy during the era of spy planes) including whether or not somebody could escape from a plane under such circumstances. They needed a hero and Kittinger was the man who stepped forward. He rode a much more primitive balloon up to more than 100,000 feet and he jumped, setting a bunch of records in one fell swoop which stand to this day. (Since that time, many people have attempted to break Joe’s records, all winding up looking very foolish, very dead, or both.)

Kittinger not only set the records for highest jump and longest freefall, but was the only person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. His protective suit and other equipment were far inferior to what Baumgartner will use, and in later recounts of the story, he noted that his suit failed in a few ways, along with his oxygen system. In one interview he even mentioned feeling like he blacked out during the fall, waking up to find that he was still falling. So Baumgartner has his work cut out for him.

Kittinger had a hand held camera when he made the leap, along with another one mounted in the balloon. The video still exists and you can watch it in this clip from a documentary on gravity done some time ago for Discovery. Enjoy.


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Comment pages: 1 2

BISHOP?

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 12:12 PM

there is absolutely nothing like the thrill of stepping out of an airplane.

….the world is 2/3 water—-and the rest,……is Drop Zone.

RLTW

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM

It should take 35 seconds to break the sound barrier and ten minutes in all, reaching more than 690mph.

Good Lord – 690mph? You’d think that friction would catch up.

What’s “Terminal Velocity” for a 190 lb human falling through the atmosphere?

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Navy Space SEALS, SEAL team 6 give no place to hide.

Oil Can on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Good for him.

In other news: Ohdummy is destroying the US economy.

NapaConservative on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

990km/h

awesome!

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Must not be afraid of heights!
I would have to wear Depends!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

What’s “Terminal Velocity” for a 190 lb human falling through the atmosphere?

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I thought it was about 180–220mph

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Pfffft. Already done it, and without a suit or oxygen.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

The pioneers take the risks so that others can come along later and say “me too”. Kittinger had balls of steel. I’m guessing it won’t take 52 years to break Baumgartner’s record (if he lives).

swinia sutki on February 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM

It should take 35 seconds to break the sound barrier and ten minutes in all, reaching more than 690mph.

I don’t think that’s possible. The terminal velocity for a falling skydiver is around 120 MPH. Now obviously from that height there will be much less drag, but as the diver falls deeper into the atmosphere, I would think he would actually slow down. I’m not an expert on such things, but I’m highly doubtful he would reach a speed anywhere close to the sound barrier.

RadClown on February 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

But does he have a ladder to use as a surf board?

cozmo on February 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

But is it racist ?

Sams88 on February 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I wish him well. All I have to ask is why?

SC.Charlie on February 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I’ll keep my feet on the ground thank you.

I barely tolerate flying, let alone the idea of jumping.

I can just imagine the sheer agony* I’d be in for much of the freefall as my head tried to deal with the altitude drop.

*My singular good ear evidently has a thicker than normal ear drum, meaning descents when flying become extremely painful as I cannot easily or adequately “adjust” the pressure. For the same reason I cannot dive/swim below about 8-10 feet of water.

Logus on February 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Very cool.

rbj on February 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Would ground-based cameras be able to record a thin stream of urine flowing behind a person as they fell, because if it were me falling that stream would be there.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Terminal velocity deep in the air column, closer to Earth, is far lower. We usually fell at roughly 120-140 mph in a full, arms out glide. If you went head down in a flying V you could bump it up closer to 200 mph. But up where Kittenger jumped there is virtually no air to slow you down. He began to slow (and his suit heated up) once he got into the thicker air below and then he deployed his parachute. But up on the edge of space you can definitely break 700 mph in freefall.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Why isn’t there a law against doing this? People might hurt themselves.

J.E. Dyer on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Pfffft. Already done it, and without a suit or oxygen.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

ok, Kar-El, tell us how you did it.

ConservativePartyNow on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I wish him well. All I have to ask is why?

SC.Charlie on February 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Dark Star

cozmo on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I thought it was about 180–220mph

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Me too.

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

But will he be taxed for excessive awe and inspiration?

nitzsche on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

The terminal velocity for a falling skydiver is around 120 MPH. Now obviously from that height there will be much less drag, but as the diver falls deeper into the atmosphere, I would think he would actually slow down. I’m not an expert on such things, but I’m highly doubtful he would reach a speed anywhere close to the sound barrier.

RadClown on February 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

you’re right, I think the record speeds are achieved at the higher altitudes where the air is the thinnest, thus less friction. He’d slow down as he entered the thicker atmosphere where air friction/resistance would increase.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Let’s hope he doesn’t experience deceleration trauma.

The Rogue Tomato on February 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I don’t think that’s possible. The terminal velocity for a falling skydiver is around 120 MPH. Now obviously from that height there will be much less drag, but as the diver falls deeper into the atmosphere, I would think he would actually slow down. I’m not an expert on such things, but I’m highly doubtful he would reach a speed anywhere close to the sound barrier.

RadClown on February 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

The Air Force had a full instrument pack on Kittenger’s suit when he jumped, monitoring everything from velocity to air pressure, temperature and beyond. He absolutely broke the sound barrier. If this guy pulls off 120K he will also. There’s just not enough air to slow you down up there.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

politically incorrect, “Geronimo!”

Dr. Demento on February 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Terminal velocity deep in the air column, closer to Earth, is far lower. We usually fell at roughly 120-140 mph in a full, arms out glide. If you went head down in a flying V you could bump it up closer to 200 mph. But up where Kittenger jumped there is virtually no air to slow you down. He began to slow (and his suit heated up) once he got into the thicker air below and then he deployed his parachute. But up on the edge of space you can definitely break 700 mph in freefall.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Wow. Do you have to be careful with your limbs? you’d think a wrong move in all of that turbulance could cause some injuries.

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The 180-220 mph figures are achieved with regular sport parachutists that use a head down attitude and are jumping <20K feet I believe, ie, in the normal atmosphere where their velocity is limited by drag. At higher altitudes like this guy is doing, there is far far less drag and they can achieve much higher velocities.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

No drag no terminal velocity. An object in vacuum and effected by gravity will continue to accelerate until something interferes with its trajectory.

NotCoach on February 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

So what? Who cares about some fool falling from 20 miles up. Worry about what Obamba is doing to this country. Drop him from 20 miles up. That should take care of his fat head.

rjulio on February 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

SMOD is faster. Much faster.

faraway on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

ok, Kar-El, tell us how you did it.

ConservativePartyNow on February 7, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Took a last swig of Islay and jumped out. Not much more to it than that.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

But up on the edge of space you can definitely break 700 mph in freefall.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

At that altitude, is it still the speed of sound?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Meanwhile… I sent a few emails and made some phone calls from my office today.

*sigh*

The 12 year old me would be so disappointed.

simon on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

SMOD is faster. Much faster.

faraway on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Behold the SMOD@/

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Must not be afraid of heights!
I would have to wear Depends!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Some things are more important than fear, but you’ll have to make that first jump to find out.

swinia sutki on February 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM

The 12 year old me would be so disappointed.

simon on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Heh.

I’ve always been one of those “why would anyone jump out of a pefectly good airplane?” types.

You’d have to rip my hands from the plane door and push me out (bring friends – you’re gonna need ‘em).

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

At that altitude, is it still the speed of sound?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

well, the speed of sound is technically dependent upon the atmosphere that the sound is traveling in. No air, no sound up there. Thus, the speed of sound is used as a context to understand the rate of his descent. At ground level, the speed of sound is ~690mph and varies by air density/temp, IIRC.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

But up on the edge of space you can definitely break 700 mph in freefall.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM
At that altitude, is it still the speed of sound?

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Yup, about 670 mph sir. The air density is tenuous but the sound barrier doesn’t reduce or increase in a straight line as you go higher up.

darkannulus on February 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM

simon on February 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Buck up, at least you don’t have the chance of becoming a tourist attraction accompanied by a stain on the ground and a sign which says, “After the chute failed to open, he hit the ground traveling 200 mph at exactly this spot”.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Must not be afraid of heights!
KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

At that level, the fear of heights is pretty moot since the ground is so far away, it is hard to use as a reference. However, you get 30-40 ft+ off the ground, that’s where you get the psychological fear of heights, if you will. That’s why, in airborne school, they use a 34ft jump tower–apparently, 34 ft is the optimum level around which people have a “fear of height”….If you can do it at 34 ft, then you can do it at 1200-12000 or 120000 ft. Beyond a certain height, the sensation of height becomes moot.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Yup, about 670 mph sir. The air density is tenuous but the sound barrier doesn’t reduce or increase in a straight line as you go higher up.

darkannulus on February 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Learn something new every day.

Gotta wonder about going through sonic booms in a spacesuit…

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I AM the sweet meteor I’ve been looking for!

SarahW on February 7, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Wasn’t a scene like this cut from Star Trek: Generations? If I recall correctly, Captain Kirk was going to open the movie doing an orbital skydive on one version of the script.

Jurisprudence on February 7, 2012 at 12:36 PM

You’d have to rip my hands from the plane door and push me out (bring friends – you’re gonna need ‘em).

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Wuffo’s are always welcome to visit the DZ just to watch. And if I’m jumping that day, you’ll get a show as well. My landings are right out of vaudeville.

swinia sutki on February 7, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I like the Army way: static line, 800 ft., at night, with 100 lbs of weapon, ammo, and gear. Sky filled with paratroopers. Anything goes wrong at 800 ft., you’re having a very bad day.

Of course, Capt. Kittinger did all right. For an Air Force guy.

troyriser_gopftw on February 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM

swinia sutki on February 7, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Would be worried sick until you safely put your feet back on the ground….but thanks for the invite!

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:39 PM

If you can do it at 34 ft, then you can do it at 1200-12000 or 120000 ft. Beyond a certain height, the sensation of height becomes moot.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

22 years later and I vividly remember my first jump. When the door of that Cesssna swung up and I looked out that gaping hole in the side of the plane at 3500 AGL the sensation of height was anything but “moot”.

swinia sutki on February 7, 2012 at 12:40 PM

politically incorrect, “Geronimo!”

Dr. Demento on February 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

“Me!” (the scene where Geronimo jumps from the plane…)

catmman on February 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

In the movie ‘Top Secret!’

catmman on February 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

“Me!” (the scene where Geronimo jumps from the plane…)

catmman on February 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Oh, good!

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Nominal terminal velocity for normal jumping distances (i.e. less than 15,000 feet) is 128 mph. There is virtually no atmosphere to speak of at 100,000 feet. Hence, no perception of gravity. The good news is at 50,000 feet the air is substantial enough to considerably slow you down – but you’ve already fallen 50,000+ feet … accelerating at 32ft/sec per second.

I think Kittinger was not the first person in space – I believe an X-15 pilot beat him to it by a couple of months.

(Space brat – used to have a set of plans to the X-15 one million horsepower engine but lost them somewhere along the way.)

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 12:43 PM

troyriser_gopftw on February 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I learned on static line. Only way to go IMO. But as to Kittinger, my jump instructor used to say that the reason he went so fast was because he was dragged down faster by the weight of his ginormuos brass … err… you know.

To the other question about speed, I only did the flying V heads down a few times. Yeah, you can get up around 200 mph but I didn’t care for it for two reasons. First, you use up your freefall time a lot faster and jumps are expensive and you often have to wait a while for the next flight. Second, the consideration voiced about control is a factor. In a spread eagle you can potato chip your way down and maintain pretty good body control at 12-140. When you get up near 200 you actually do start running into turbulence issues, particularly if you pass through an inversion layer, and it gets tricky. You can send yourself into an out of control spin or tumble which can be really bad news unless you’re very, very good at body control.

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Awsome. Not too bright, but awsome.

rogaineguy on February 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM

People are awesome. I hope he’s got one of those GoPro cameras with him when he jumps. I always wanted to try out skydiving, but alas, it will never happen for me.

In a few years we are going to have people doing this with one of those wing-suits.

Mord on February 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM

I heard Kittinger speak a few years ago. His later Air Force career is noteworthy:

Kittinger later served three combat tours of duty during the Vietnam War, flying a total of 483 missions. Kittinger was shot down on May 11, 1972 and spent 11 months as a POW in the “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

Happy Nomad on February 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Just think…voting for Obama for a second term will cause America to fall more than a puny 120,000 feet.

timberline on February 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM

The main factor for speed of sound in the earths atmosphere, is temperature of the air.

firepilot on February 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I wonder if he’ll tell “Gerrrraaaaannnnnaaaaammmmmooooo” when he leaps?

timberline on February 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM

That’s one small step for man…one giant.. HOLY S*%@, WHERE’S THE MOON????

Tar Heel Sooner on February 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

accelerating at 32ft/sec per second.

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Sorry dude, but 9 meters per second per second is not 32 feet per second. It’s 32 feet per second squared. Yea, it really does make a difference.

SWalker on February 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

My recollection from 33 years ago is its all about training. Rehearse enough times and when you’re up there you just do what you did in the mock-up on the ground. Brains are really weird like that.

For me to do the 23 mile jump, I’d need to knocked out,loaded in, and awakened by an alarm saying that if I jump Right Now, I’ll just barely have the oxygen to survive. Jump or die.

tomg51 on February 7, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Pfffft. Already done it, and without a suit or oxygen.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Yeah, well. In Texas, we do it without the balloon, too.

TexasDan on February 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Oh, and Kittinger suffered frostbite on one hand because of a malfunction in one of his suit gloves. Just thought you might want to know that.

SWalker on February 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Jazz Shaw on February 7, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Truly fascinating thread!.

(crazy, but undeniably interesting – well done)

Tim_CA on February 7, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I’d be curious to know what the method is for opening the chute on this drop. Is he sub-sonic at that point? Seems like you’d need to slow with a drag chute before opening up the big one, or the jolt would just tear you to ribbons.

TexasDan on February 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Its not the frostbite, its the thaw that gets you….

Somehow, I think Kittinger handled it just fine.

tomg51 on February 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

there is absolutely nothing like the thrill of stepping out of an airplane.

….the world is 2/3 water—-and the rest,……is Drop Zone.

RLTW

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Helicopter Pilots and Crew Chiefs look your way in a much disgruntled manner.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Sorry dude, but 9 meters per second per second is not 32 feet per second. It’s 32 feet per second squared. Yea, it really does make a difference.

SWalker on February 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Correct …. but since their are fewer engineers and scientists than there used to be and I was hoping to avoid debate with trolls regarding what a squared second meant, I phrased my statement more loosely.

Forgive me, It was a brief lapse of sanity thinking that someone on the internet wouldn’t find a nit to pick

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

or the jolt would just tear you to ribbons.

TexasDan on February 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Na, it would tear the chute to ribbons and then you would have 4 or 5 whole minuets to ponder the approaching ground.

SWalker on February 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Good picture. Good analogy of where Newt’s numbers are going..

Bradky on February 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Correct …. but since their are fewer engineers and scientists than there used to be and I was hoping to avoid debate with trolls regarding what a squared second meant, I phrased my statement more loosely.

Forgive me, It was a brief lapse of sanity thinking that someone on the internet wouldn’t find a nit to pick

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

ROTFLMAO…

I was looking for love nit’s in all the wrong places
Looking for love nit’s in too many faces
Searching your eyes post’s, looking for traces
Of what.. I’m dreaming of…

SWalker on February 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I’d be curious to know what the method is for opening the chute on this drop. Is he sub-sonic at that point? Seems like you’d need to slow with a drag chute before opening up the big one, or the jolt would just tear you to ribbons.

TexasDan on February 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

The atmosphere thickens up very slowly (relatively speaking) and you will begin decelerating substantially long before you need to pull a ripcord …

… but nowing how they did thing back then …

the chute was probably set to be triggered by an altimeter, with a back-up timer, with an back-up, back-up radio trigger AND he most likely had a rip cord suitable for the trip.

Triple/quadruple redundancy and people wonder why everything NASA does costs so much???

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

A leap from the edge of space
posted at 12:10 pm on February 7, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Jazz, If ever there was a thread winner, my vote would go to the esteemed Bishop for his hilariously funny posts.

1st runner up:
Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

The Winner:
Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

I was laughing so hard it hurt.

About the topic, I hope the Baumgartner makes it. It would be pretty cool to see it happen again in my lifrtime. And with the technology today, I’m pretty sure more people will be able to live vicariously though his feat!

Green light! GO GO GO…..

JohnnyD on February 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Helicopter Pilots and Crew Chiefs look your way in a much disgruntled manner.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

LOL

From my experience Crew Chiefs don’t like it much when a Pilot fails to return an airplane that they borrowed.

F15Mech on February 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I like the Army way: static line, 800 ft., at night, with 100 lbs of weapon, ammo, and gear. Sky filled with paratroopers. Anything goes wrong at 800 ft., you’re having a very bad day.

Of course, Capt. Kittinger did all right. For an Air Force guy.

troyriser_gopftw on February 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Hey now……………….

and our blue uniforms are much purty-er too……

I enlisted in the USAF, then discovered a terror of heights, never refused to fly, but everytime was a white knuckle sheer holy terror event for me, thankfully, it wasn’t often.

The man said do it, I did, but even free hand repelling was hard for me, I never got over my fear, but I did what was asked.

and like I said, our purty blue uniforms…. was purty.

mark81150 on February 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM

This stunt is Chuck Norris Approved(tm)

RobertE on February 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

True story – I swear to AP!

Working at an engineering company a few years back, during some casual chit chat I mentioned an article I had just read on “How to survive if you are free falling from an airplane without a working parachute”

I tell these two friends that the survey says, “Your best bet is to try to land on freshly plowed ground on a somewhat sloped hillside.” (the answer that seems to have worked for most of the VERY FEW that have survived this type of incident)

Brief silence then one of them said, ” I don’t know – sounds pretty risky to me.”

Literally fell back into a chair so I wasn’t ROFLMAO.

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM

LOL

From my experience Crew Chiefs don’t like it much when a Pilot fails to return an airplane that they borrowed.

F15Mech on February 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

There’s that. I’m just wondering why an Airborne Trooper didn’t include helicopters. I guess we’re basically an elevator ride and not “thrilling”.

I see how it is ted c.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

A footnote, a guy at my duty base was in the 37th ARRS flying the short version Huey, they handled medievac and sometimes flew Missile crews into the field when the snow as too bad to reach the silo’s for crew change out.

He’d flown mission in Vietnam, and was a little… off.

He apparently wasn’t impressed by the attitude of the missile officers on board, who weren’t pilots. So he flew his bird under an overpass on I-25…

He was grounded..

but I guess they never did get all the puke out of that bird, they say the smell lingered awhile.

sometimes I miss those days… the things who see and do, civilian life never matches up. Of course I was never shot at either.

mark81150 on February 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Would ground-based cameras be able to record a thin stream of urine flowing behind a person as they fell, because if it were me falling that stream would be there.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

LOL!

The answers are ‘no,they can’t’ and ‘no it wouldn’t’

Ground based cameras have too much atmosphere to look through.

Your urine would sublimate into vapor if it exited the suit during the first 25,000 feet or so. (Mythbusters & physics)

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

42 years old? Got to admit it, I did it at 19 (no where near that altitude), but back then I was young and therefore immortal. Wish him well.

GarandFan on February 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Do we want to live in an America where the people who jump from 120,000 feet are often taxed at the same or often a lower rate than the folks who only jump fron 10 or 15 thousand feet? Or maybe those who are only able to jump from their front porch stoop. Is that fair? Please join me in asking Congress to fix this problem for Hope and Change we can all believe in.

GreenBlade on February 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Would ground-based cameras be able to record a thin stream of urine flowing behind a person as they fell, because if it were me falling that stream would be there.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

LOL!

The answers are ‘no,they can’t’ and ‘no it wouldn’t’

Ground based cameras have too much atmosphere to look through.

Your urine would sublimate into vapor if it exited the suit during the first 25,000 feet or so. (Mythbusters & physics)

PolAgnostic on February 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

So you’d leave a contrail? Awesome!

captn2fat on February 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Fun story! I hope he makes some good video.

All it would take to get me to do that would be to falsify my medical records. I quit jumping after the second heart attack.

In the early seventies, when I started, Kittinger and DB Cooper were both topics of conversation at the party after a day of jumping. Most of the gear we used back then would get you laughed off a modern DZ.

fast richard on February 7, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Helicopter Pilots and Crew Chiefs look your way in a much disgruntled manner.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

let me amend my remarks…..

there is absolutely nothing like the thrill of stepping out of an airplane or out the door of a MH60 held level by a wiseass aviator whom will buy you beer once you get back on the ground AND maintained by an equally talented crew-chief.

….the world is 2/3 water—-and the rest,……is Drop Zone AND Landing Zone.

RLTW

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM

better?

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

read this bas a kid..

Alan Eugene Magee (January 13, 1919 – December 20, 2003) was an American airman during World War II who survived a 22,000-foot (6,700 m) fall from his damaged B-17 Flying Fortress. He was featured in Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 10 most amazing survival stories of World War II.

Alan Magee was born in Plainfield, New Jersey as the youngest of six children. Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack Magee joined the United States Army Air Corps and was assigned as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 bomber nicknamed “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”.[1]

On 3 January 1943 Magee’s B-17 was on a daylight bombing run over Saint-Nazaire, France when German fighters shot off a section of the right wing, causing the aircraft to enter a deadly spin. This was Magee’s seventh mission.

Magee was wounded in the attack but managed to escape from the ball turret. Unfortunately, his parachute had been damaged and rendered useless by the attack, so having no choice, he leapt from the plane without a parachute, rapidly losing consciousness due to the altitude.

By some accounts, Magee fell over four miles before crashing through the glass roof of the St. Nazaire railroad station. Somehow the glass roof mitigated Magee’s impact and rescuers found him still alive on the floor of the station.

Magee was taken as a prisoner of war and given medical treatment by his captors. He had 28 shrapnel wounds in addition to the damage from the fall. He had several broken bones, severe damage to his nose and eye, and lung and kidney damage, and his right arm was nearly severed.

Magee was liberated in May 1945 and received the Air Medal for meritorious conduct and the Purple Heart.

Had to be a sheer fluke he survived, but, how do you explain it?

mark81150 on February 7, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Jazz –

Ever skydive in the Shawangunks/Lower Catskill area???

It looks like Red Dawn during the spring and summer.

Odie1941 on February 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

I’m surprised there was no mention by Discovery of how much the polar ice caps have melted since Kittinger made the jump.

VibrioCocci on February 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Even though the writers lean left, (some far left) I still read Esquire magazine and they published a terrific article on Felix last year. He was supposed to make this jump way sooner but was sued by the prior promoter. The case is now settled and he is ready to go.

Imagine being ready and getting the will and training to do this and then having to deal with F%%$ing LAWYERS. He should take a couple of them with him on the trip up, sans suits.

GodSpeed Felix Baumgartner!

Opposite Day on February 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

better?

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Fences are mended.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 2:22 PM

There’s that. I’m just wondering why an Airborne Trooper didn’t include helicopters. I guess we’re basically an elevator ride and not “thrilling”.

I see how it is ted c.

hawkdriver on February 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Did a 3000 ft. Huey blast in 18th Airborne Corps Recondo School in 1982. Loved it. We just sat on the edge with our legs dangling and more or less pushed ourselves out into space. One of the few jumps I’ve ever had where there was time to look around. It was cold (for North Carolina) and the moon was full, all the stars were out. One of my strongest memories.

The pilot and co-pilot gave us strange looks. Perfectly good helicopter and all that.

troyriser_gopftw on February 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Pfffft. Already done it, and without a suit or oxygen.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Yeah, well. In Texas, we do it without the balloon, too.

TexasDan on February 7, 2012 at 12:58 PM

In california we do it without a balloon, oxygen, a suit, or a parachute because we are already brain dead.

percysunshine on February 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Would ground-based cameras be able to record a thin stream of urine flowing behind a person as they fell, because if it were me falling that stream would be there.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

..same for me, except brown.

The War Planner on February 7, 2012 at 2:26 PM

better?

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

..change the “whom” to “who” and it will be your usual perfection. (Hawkdriver’s gonna kill me for that.)

The War Planner on February 7, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Beyond a certain height, the sensation of height becomes moot.

ted c on February 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Not for me. The first time I jumped was from an airplane at 3,000 feet. I can still remember when the instructor opened the door of the plane. I’ll never forget the knot in the pit of my stomach when I looked out and saw 3,000 feet of empty space between myself and the ground. I did the jump anyway and had a great time. That jump permanently cured me of my fear of heights.

Gladtobehere on February 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Pfffft. Already done it, and without a suit or oxygen.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Oh yeah? Well I free-climbed to that height when I did it.

John the Libertarian on February 7, 2012 at 3:05 PM

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