Felix Baumgartner

Last updated

Felix Baumgartner
Felix Baumgartner 2013.jpg
Baumgartner in 2013
Born (1969-04-20) 20 April 1969 (age 52)
Salzburg, Austria
Other namesB.A.S.E. 502 – Fearless Felix
Website felixbaumgartner.com

Felix Baumgartner (German: [ˈfeːlɪks ˈbaʊ̯mˌɡaʁtnɐ] ; born 20 April 1969) is an Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper. [1] He is best known for jumping to Earth from a helium balloon from the stratosphere on 14 October 2012 and landing in New Mexico, United States as part of the Red Bull Stratos project. 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. [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2] He became the first person to break the sound barrier relative to the surface without vehicular power on his descent. [12] [13] He broke skydiving records for exit altitude, vertical freefall distance without a drogue parachute, and vertical speed without a 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. [14] [15] [16]


Baumgartner is also renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career. He 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-001.jpg
Tribute to Baumgartner in Straße der Sieger, Mariahilfer Street, Vienna, Austria

Felix Baumgartner was born to mother Eva in Salzburg, Austria. His younger brother is Gerard. [17] [18] [19] [lower-alpha 3] [20] [21] As a child, he dreamed about flying and skydiving. [22] 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. [23] On 20 July 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially made carbon fibre wing. [1] [24] 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. [25]

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. [26] 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. [27]

He became the first person to BASE jump from the completed Millau Viaduct in France on 27 June 2004 [28] and the first person to skydive onto, then BASE jump from, the Turning Torso building in Malmö, Sweden, on 18 August 2006. [29] 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. [30]

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. [31]

Test jumps

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), [32] 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). [33] [34]

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. [35]

Main jump

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) [12] [36] [37] and falling a record distance of 36,402.6 metres (119,431 feet); the altitude record was broken by Alan Eustace in 2014. [38] Baumgartner also set the record for fastest speed of free fall at 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph), [2] [12] [5] making him the first human to break the sound barrier outside a vehicle. [39] [40] Baumgartner was in free fall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, 17 seconds short of mentor Joseph Kittinger's 1960 jump. [39]

Training for the jump

Baumgartner initially struggled with claustrophobia after spending time in the pressurized suit required for the jump, but overcame it with help from a sports psychologist and other specialists. [41] [42] [43]

Audi Motorsport

In 2014, Baumgartner decided to join Audi Motorsport to drive an Audi R8 LMS for the 2014 24 Hours of Nurburgring after racing Volkswagen Polos in 2013. He underwent another intense physical and driver training session to prepare him for the race. [44] He helped the team to a ninth place overall finish. [45]

Personal life

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 that he "didn't want to get involved in politics." [46] [47] [18]

On 6 November 2012, Baumgartner was convicted of battery and was fined €1500 after slapping the face of a Greek truck driver, following a petty argument between the two men. [48] [49]

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. [50] Later on, Baumgartner endorsed the presidential candidate of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria, Norbert Hofer. [51] 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". [52]

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. [53]

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. [53]

Since 2014, he has been in a relationship with Romanian television presenter Mihaela Rădulescu. [54]

Awards and accolades

See also


  1. Citation [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
  2. The FAI ratified the 3 world records claimed by Austrian parachutist Felix Baumgartner for Maximum Vertical Speed without a 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). [5] 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. [11]
  3. Baumgartner's mother's name has also been reported as Ava.

Related Research Articles

BASE jumping Sport of jumping from fixed objects using a parachute

BASE jumping is the recreational sport of jumping from fixed objects, using a parachute to descend safely to the ground. "BASE" is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs). Participants exit from a fixed object such as a cliff, and after an optional freefall delay, deploy a parachute to slow their descent and land. A popular form of BASE jumping is wingsuit BASE jumping.

Parachute Device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere

A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag.

Joseph Kittinger American military pilot

Colonel Joseph William Kittinger II is a retired officer in the United States Air Force (USAF) and a Command Pilot. His initial operational assignment was in fighter aircraft, then he participated in Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior high-altitude balloon flight projects from 1956 to 1960, setting a world record for the highest skydive from a height greater than 19 miles (31 km). He was also the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon, and the first man to fully witness the curvature of the Earth.

Wingsuit flying Variant of skydiving activity involving a specially designed suit which offers control surfaces

Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying through the air using a wingsuit which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. The modern wingsuit, first developed in the late 1990s, creates a surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms.

Project Excelsior United States Air Force parachuting project

Project Excelsior was a series of parachute jumps made by Joseph Kittinger of the United States Air Force in 1959 and 1960 from helium balloons in the stratosphere. The purpose was to test the Beaupre multi-stage parachute system intended to be used by pilots ejecting from high altitude. In one of these jumps Kittinger set world records for the longest parachute drogue fall, the highest parachute jump, and the fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere. He held the latter two of these records for 52 years, until they were broken by Felix Baumgartner of the Red Bull Stratos project in 2012, though he still holds the world record for longest time in free fall.

Tandem skydiving

Tandem skydiving or tandem parachuting refers to a type of skydiving where a student skydiver is connected to an instructor via a harness. The instructor guides the student through the whole jump from exit through freefall, piloting the canopy, and landing. The student needs only minimal instruction before making a tandem jump with the instructor. In the United States most skydiving centers and clubs require that you be 18 years or older to skydive whereas in other countries the minimum age can be lower or higher. This is one of three commonly used training methods for beginning skydivers; the others being Static line, Instructor-assisted deployment (IAD), and Accelerated freefall (AFF) (k).

Victor Prather

Lieutenant Commander Victor Alonzo Prather Jr. was an American flight surgeon famous for taking part in "Project RAM", a government project to develop the space suit. On May 4, 1961, Prather drowned during the helicopter transfer after the landing of the Strato-Lab V balloon flight, which set an altitude record for manned balloon flight which stood until 2012.

Malcolm Ross (balloonist) 20th-century U.S. Navy Reserve captain, atmospheric scientist, and balloonist

Malcolm David Ross was a captain in the United States Naval Reserve (USNR), an atmospheric scientist, and a balloonist who set several records for altitude and scientific inquiry, with more than 100 hours flight time in gas balloons by 1961. Along with Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather (USN), he set the altitude record for a manned balloon flight.

Flight altitude record

This listing of flight altitude records are the records set for the highest aeronautical flights conducted in the atmosphere, set since the age of ballooning.

Space diving

Similar to skydiving, space diving is the act of jumping from an aircraft or spacecraft in near space and falling towards Earth. The Kármán line is a common definition as to where space begins, 100 km (62 mi) above sea level. This definition is accepted by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which is an international standard setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics. The United States Air Force uses 50 mi (80 km) to award astronaut wings.

Michel Fournier is a French adventurer and retired Air Force colonel. He has been involved in planning attempts to break freefall jumping height records, but has yet to be successful in carrying out an attempt. He was born in Treban (Allier), in the Auvergne region of France.

Cheryl Stearns is an American skydiver.

Parachuting Action sport of exiting an aircraft and returning to Earth using a parachute

Parachuting, including also skydiving, is a method of transiting from a high point in the atmosphere to the surface of Earth with the aid of gravity, involving the control of speed during the descent using a parachute or parachutes.

Nick Piantanida American amateur parachute jumper

Nicholas John Piantanida was an American amateur parachute jumper who reached 123,500 feet with his Strato Jump II balloon on February 2, 1966, flying a crewed balloon higher than anyone before, a record that stood until Felix Baumgartner's flight on October 14, 2012.

Red Bull Stratos was a high altitude skydiving project involving Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner. On 14 October 2012, Baumgartner flew approximately 39 kilometres (24 mi) into the stratosphere over New Mexico, United States, in a helium balloon before free falling in a pressure suit and then parachuting to Earth. The total jump, from leaving the capsule to landing on the ground, lasted approximately ten minutes. While the free fall was initially expected to last between five and six minutes, Baumgartner deployed his parachute after 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

Yevgeni Nikolayevich Andreyev

Yevgeny Nikolayevich Andreyev was a colonel in the Soviet Air Force. He set an official record for the longest-distance free-fall parachute jump on 1 November 1962, which the Guinness Book of Records put at 24,500 metres (80,400 ft). The previous record holder for highest free-fall jump was Joseph Kittinger. Andreyev did however not break the record for highest parachute jump, also held by Kittinger, but that jump was stabilized by a drogue parachute and therefore not free-fall. Andreyev was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union for his feat.

Events from the year 2012 in Austria

Skydive Empuriabrava

Skydive Empuriabrava is the brand that has been commercially operating Empuriabrava Aerodrome since 1985. Since it began operating its main activity has been skydiving although it also offers photo flights, aerial and tourist advertising, and runs a school of aviation for private pilots.

Alan Eustace American computer scientist

Robert Alan Eustace is an American computer scientist who served as Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google until 2015. As of October 24, 2014, he holds the world record for the highest-altitude free-fall jump.

Luke Aikins is an American professional skydiver, BASE jumper, pilot, and aerial photographer. He is the first person to intentionally dive from mid-tropospheric altitude and land safely without a parachute or a wingsuit and the second skydiver to intentionally jump and safely land without using a parachute.


  1. 1 2 Abrams, Michael (2006). Birdmen, Batmen, and Skyflyers: Wingsuits and the Pioneers Who Flew in Them, Fell in Them, and Perfected Them . New York: Harmony Books. pp.  247–251. ISBN   978-1-4000-5491-6.
  2. 1 2 "Baumgartner's Records Ratified by FAI !" Record Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Fédération Aéronautique Internationale , 14 October 2012. Accessed: 18 November 2013.
  3. "Governing body 'FAI' officially confirms Stratos world records". Red Bull Stratos. Retrieved 10 May 2013. Maximum Vertical Speed (without drogue) 1,357.6 km/h (equivalent to 843.6 mph / Mach 1.25)
  4. Paur, Jason (15 October 2013). "Red Bull Releases Incredible POV Video of 128,000-Foot Stratos Jump". Wired . Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 The International Air Sports Federation (FAI). "Parachuting World Records". Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  6. Tierney, John (14 October 2012). "Daredevil Prepares to Jump Nearly 25 Miles". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  7. "Official statement on closing of legal case" (Press release). Red Bull Stratos. 30 June 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2011.
  8. Gray, Richard (5 February 2012). "Sky diver to break sound barrier with jump from edge of space". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012.
  9. Henderson, Barney; Irvine, Chris (9 October 2012). "Skydiver Felix Baumgartner attempts to break sound barrier: latest". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  10. "Baumgartner's Records Ratified by FAI". The World Air Sports Federation (FAI). 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  11. The International Air Sports Federation (FAI). "Ballooning World Records". Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  12. 1 2 3 "Skydiver fell faster than thought, top speed verified at 844 mph _ or Mach 1.25". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  13. Amos, Jonathan (14 October 2012). "Skydiver Felix Baumgartner lands highest ever jump". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  14. 1 2 Markoff, John (24 October 2014). "Parachutist's Record-Breaking Fall: 26 Miles, 15 Minutes". The New York Times . Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  15. "Baumgartner's Records Ratified by FAI!". FAI. 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  16. "Alan Eustace, D-7426, Bests High-Altitude World Record". U.S. Parachute Association. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  17. "Felix Baumgartner". redbull.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  18. 1 2 Petridis, Alexis (1 November 2012). "Space jumper Felix Baumgartner parachutes into politics". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  19. Samuel, Henry (15 October 2012). "The picture that proves Felix Baumgartner always dreamed of reaching for the skies". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  20. "Felix Baumgartner biography". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  21. "Papa Baumgartner -". 18 October 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  22. The picture that proves Felix Baumgartner always dreamed of reaching for the skies
  23. "Archive: 1999". felixbaumgartner.com. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  24. "Birdman Flies Atair Parachutes Across English Channel". Atair Aerospace, Inc. 21 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2012. This article gives the date of Baumgartner's jump as 31 July 2003.
  25. Abrams, p. 251.
  26. Dittrich, Luke (14 July 2010). "The Man Who Would Fall to Earth". Esquire . p. 4. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 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
  27. Abrams, p. 249.
  28. Millau Viaduct
  29. "Pr-jippo kan sluta med åtal" (in Swedish). 18 August 2006. Archived from the original on 13 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  30. "Extreme Felix Baumgartner jumping off Taipei 101". YouTube. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  31. Choi, Charles Q (22 January 2010). "'Space diver' to attempt first supersonic freefall". New Scientist . Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  32. "Baumgartner breaks the Maximum Vertical Speed World Record". The World Air Sports Federation (FAI). 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  33. Dunn, Marcia (15 March 2012). "Skydiver jumps 13.6 miles on path to world's highest jump". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  34. "Felix Baumgartner's jump from space's edge watched by millions". The Associated Press. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  35. Dunn, Marcia (25 July 2012). "Skydiver Fearless Felix jumps from 19 miles up". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  36. "Record ID 16670, Parachuting – Exit altitude Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Fédération Aéronautique Internationale , 14 October 2012. Accessed: 15 December 2013.
  37. "Skydiver fell faster than thought". The Blade. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  38. "Record ID 16671, Parachuting – Freefall distance Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Fédération Aéronautique Internationale , 14 October 2012. Accessed: 15 December 2013.
  39. 1 2 Irvine, Chris (14 October 2012). "Felix Baumgartner: Daredevil in record-breaking free fall attempt: live". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  40. Tierney, John (14 October 2012). "Daredevil Jumps, and Lands on His Feet". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  41. Tierney, John (14 October 2012). "Daredevil Jumps, and Lands on His Feet". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  42. (CNN) Report. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  43. NYDaily News:Red Bull Stratos Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  44. "Felix Baumgartner to race at Nürburgring 24 Hours". redbull.com. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  45. "Audi teams aim for third victory at Bathurst". Audi MotorsportInfo. 2 December 2014. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  46. Höfler, Klaus (27 October 2012). "Baumgartner: "Wir würden eine gemäßigte Diktatur brauchen"". Kleine Zeitung. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  47. "Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner opts for 'moderate dictatorship'". AFP. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  48. Felix Baumgartner: Ohrfeige ist "angemessene Erziehungsmethode"
  49. Körperverletzung: Felix Baumgartner schuldig orf.at, German. 6 November 2012
  50. "Jan Böhmermann will Til Schweiger auf Felix Baumgartner hetzen" . Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  51. "Felix Baumgartner ruft zur Wahl von Hofer auf". krone.at. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  52. "Facebook-Seite gelöscht: Felix Baumgartner ortet "politische Eliten" dahinter" . Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  53. 1 2 "Sein tiefster Fall". Die Zeit (in German). 14 November 2013.
  54. Meet Mihaela Radulescu, Felix Baumgartner's Girlfriend
  55. Baumgartner: "Millennium" BAMBI Archived 20 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  56. "The Men of the Year 2012" Archived 17 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine , Top Gear (magazine)
  57. Sturtridge, Tim. "Felix Baumgartner wins Laureus Sports Award". 2013 Red Bull. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  58. "51 Heroes of Aviation". Flying . Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  59. "Adam Lambert, Felix Baumgartner and Tom Cruise are Most Stylish Men 2017", Be Global Fashion Network Magazine
  60. Tom Read, Freefall (Little Brown, Edition 1, 1998). ISBN   0-316-64303-3.
Preceded by
Flag of the United States.svg Joseph Kittinger
Highest space dive (38.969 km)
14 October 2012 – 24 October 2014
Succeeded by
Flag of the United States.svg Alan Eustace