Sunday, October 14, 2012

A giant leap for Felix Bumgartner

[photo via redbullstratos]

Just getting over my post-jump letdown which was so huge, it almost felt like I made the skydive myself. And pretty sure I was more nervous than Felix. By the time it got close to the exit from the capsule, I thought I might either pass out or vomit from the anxiety. Oh, are you wondering what I'm talking about? Well, it's this historic skydive from the edge of outer space that Felix Baumgartner finally got to make this morning. Or rather this afternoon by the time he finally exited the aircraft.
Unofficially, the Austrian jumped from 128,097ft (24.2 miles; 39km). He fell for four minutes and 19 seconds, reaching a speed of 706mph (1,137km/h). These figures will undoubtedly change slightly once the chest pack information has been properly assessed.
Four minutes doesn't sound that long and it seems even shorter when you're watching it live, but believe me when I tell you that while you're in freefall, it feels like a very long time. My highest skydive was at about 14,000 feet and that freefall felt so long I was almost grateful to get under canopy. Almost. Because freefall is the best part of any skydive.

Of course if memory serves, my top speed was well under 100mph and that was only for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. Can't begin to imagine what it was like going over 700mph for so long. I was terrified for Felix at that point. He was rolling so fast I couldn't believe how smoothly he leveled out once he hit the heavier atmosphere.

He opened early, missing making a new record for longest freefall. I'm convinced he did on purpose to preserve Kittinger's 50+ year record. Kittinger was his mentor for this jump and the only one allowed to talk to him throughout the 2 hour ascent and the jump back to earth. And he stuck the landing perfectly.

If you missed it, here's video of the jump, or if you don't really care, at least look at the gif of his initial leap. Thrilled that I got to see this live.

Addendum: Internets tell me it's official. Felix broke the sound barrier. With his body. This is a big fking deal.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

They're saying he hit well over 800 this morning.

1:03:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Just saw that. Hard to imagine what it feels like going that fast falling from the sky.

1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

initially it has to feel like weightlessness since there's not enough air resistance for you to feel it. At altitudes that people usually sky dive from, the wind is always there and of course you use it to control your attitude. I imagine you feel very helpless and I think you surely are.

Personally I don't enjoy free fall.

9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I actually felt that briefly when I jumped the Casa. Tailgate exit so you hit empty air. Wasn't expecting it. Freaked me out. Tandem master had to literally kick me into position. Recovered once we dropped below the plane. But I did love freefall. That was the part that really felt like flying.

12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

No tandem jumping in my day! Not comfortable with it either.

4:13:00 PM  

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