RED BULL STRATOS PILOT
“I LOVE A CHALLENGE, AND TRYING TO BECOME THE FIRST PERSON TO BREAK THE SPEED OF SOUND IN FREEFALL IS A CHALLENGE LIKE NO OTHER.”
With a passion for expanding boundaries, especially in the air, Red Bull Stratos pilot Felix Baumgartner is an expert parachutist best known for completing an unprecedented freefall flight across the English Channel using a carbon wing.
Felix, born April 20, 1969, grew up in Salzburg, Austria where he dreamed of skydiving and flying helicopters and was inspired by astronauts on TV. He made his first skydive at age 16. After sharpening his parachute skills as a member of a Special Forces demonstration team for the Austrian military, he supported himself by repairing motorcycles before becoming a skydiving professional.
Eager to test the limits, Felix set a record for history’s lowest BASE jump (from Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue), twice set world records for the highest BASE jump from a building (Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Taipei 101 tower), and even landed his canopy inside a cave in Croatia.
Felix was named to Vienna’s Street of Champions and nominated for a World Sports Award and two categories in the NEA Extreme Sports Awards. A licensed gas balloon pilot, he has earned private helicopter licenses in Austria and the United States, as well as a commercial European helicopter license, and he is an advocate for the nonprofit Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation. In training for Red Bull Stratos, Felix divides his time between Switzerland and the United States, but, he says, “The air is where I am at home.”
THE AUSTRIAN NATIVE IS LICENSED TO PILOT GAS BALLOONS, AND PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL HELICOPTERS.
Thinking space: Austrian sky-diver Felix Baumgartner sits in his trailer during the preparations for the final manned flight of the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico on Saturday
Daredevil: Baumgartner approaches the capsule with crew with whom he has been preparing for the mission for five years
Fearless: Felix, pictured here on a previous dive in July, plans to jump from the edge of the earth’s atmosphere on Tuesday
Austrian Felix Baumgartner, pictured at a news conference in New York, will leap from an aircraft 23 miles above New Mexico, in an attempt to jump higher and faster in a free fall than anyone ever before
At such high altitude, Fearless Felix will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and will free-fall for 20 minutes before landing