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Skydiving Across the English Channel 323

loonix_gangsta writes "Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian, has become the first person to skydive 35 km (22 miles) across the English Channel. Wearing a jumpsuit with a large carbon fin strapped to his back he reached speeds of up to 360 km/h. The whole flight took approximately 14 minutes. The newsitem is being covered by the BBC, SkyNews and CNN."
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Skydiving Across the English Channel

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  • Moneypenny (Score:5, Funny)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:04AM (#6579483) Journal
    Man, that's something that you would expect to see in a Bond movie.

    You know, the plane is blowing up, Bond puts two in the bad guy and grabs a boogie board then straps it to his back. The music kicks in ("DAA DAA DOOOM DAA-DAA, DAA-DAA-DAA"), Bond grabs the gal, and whoosh, out the door.

    From the CNN article: "He said cloud cover meant he could not see where he was going and had to follow his two planes across the Channel.". I bet nobody believed the pilot of the 747 at first. "No really, was a guy, with a rocket pack or something, honest!".

    • Never mind a Bond movie, it was in Tombraider 2. Or at least I'm assuming it was something like that.
    • Re:Moneypenny (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mjh ( 57755 ) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:21AM (#6579666) Homepage Journal
      Interestingly enough, something similar to this was in the latest Lara Croft flik. I haven't seen it, but this part was interesting. During one part of the movie Angelina Jolie and someone else were trying to escape and they went to the top of some building in Hong Kong. They had a special jumpsuit on with webbing between the arms & body and between the legs. Being chased, they simply lept off the edge and flew themselves to a boat waiting in Hong Kong's harbor - about 3 miles away.

      What's interesting about it is that the scene is *NOT* a special effect. It was really done by two people. Jolie is a skydiver herself, and wanted to do the actual stunt but the producers wouldn't let her for fear of the insurance costs.
      • by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:40AM (#6579878) Homepage
        Interestingly enough, something similar to this was in the latest Lara Croft flik. I haven't seen it, but this part was interesting. During one part of the movie Angelina Jolie and someone else were trying to escape and they went to the top of some building in Hong Kong. They had a special jumpsuit on with webbing between the arms & body and between the legs. Being chased, they simply lept off the edge and flew themselves to a boat waiting in Hong Kong's harbor - about 3 miles away.

        That was OK. I liked the scene where she was running better. "That's right....bounce for Daddy...ooooh"

      • Re:Moneypenny (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:52AM (#6580004)
        Not a special effect?
        I am a skydiver with 900 jumps, and I have 60
        jumps on the Birdman wingsuit, which is used in the movie.

        1. There is no building on this planet tall enough
        to leap from and glide 3 miles with a wingsuit.

        2. In the movie you see them running across roof
        and then jumping, while wearing conventional
        suits. Then their suits "magically" sprout
        wings a moment after the jump. You CANNOT run
        wearing a wingsuit; You can only waddle.

        3. It is apparent from your post that you got your
        information from that USA Today article which
        has been the subject of much ridicule among
        skydivers on www.dropzone.com forums.
        Incidently, no one can verify that Jolie has
        ever made a jump, despite her claims.
        • Re:Moneypenny (Score:3, Insightful)

          That's a little thing called editing, my friend. Just because they didn't film the entire jump in one continuous segment, and no doubt highly exaggerated the length of the flight, that doesn't mean it was a special effect!

          I believe the parent poster just wanted to let everyone know there really are such things as wingsuits and that was real footage of two people flying in them. If you're already an expert on the subject, that's fine, you really didn't need to reply... of course, it's always a good ide
        • Re:Moneypenny (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Snodgrass ( 446409 )
          They didn't glide 3 miles. In the movie the guy says that 3 miles is too far, so after a little while (once they were far enough away from the building, I guess) they opened normal parachutes.

          Yeah, I saw it, I admit it.
        • by matt-fu ( 96262 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @03:09PM (#6582288)
          by Anonymous Coward on 09:52 AM July 31st, 2003 (#6580004)

          I am a skydiver with 900 jumps, and I have 60 jumps on the Birdman wingsuit, which is used in the movie.

          Incidently, no one can verify that Jolie has ever made a jump, despite her claims.


          Incidentally, the same could be said about you.

      • Didn't Wile E Coyote do this in the 60's?

    • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:59AM (#6580050)
      I really think what that Austrian skydiver demonstrated may have some real military applications.

      Imagine US Special Forces soldiers wearing these suits (which have been coated with radar-absorbing materials to reduce radar cross-section) and being launched from 32,000 feet on a C-17 cargo plane at night. They could glide 30 miles or more, which would allow these forces to be inserted far into enemy territory.

      (Come to think of it, the US Special Forces may already HAVE this capability.)
  • Sooooo... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:05AM (#6579496)
    "jumpsuit with a large carbon fin strapped to his back "

    So, does he play 'Shark' when he gets into the water?
  • by BigAlexK ( 398239 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:06AM (#6579497)
    Apparently his backpack was running Linux, that's how he stayed up for so long ;-)
  • Skydiving. (Score:5, Funny)

    by haeger ( 85819 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:06AM (#6579505)
    The newsitem is being covered by the BBC, SkyNews and CNN.

    How appropriate.

    .haeger
  • Nobody had any blitz flashbacks?
  • Skydiving? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jason.hall ( 640247 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:07AM (#6579515)
    Can it still be called skydiving in this case? Looks more like he was just the external payload for a small glider! Still, looks like fun.
  • by lewiz ( 33370 ) <purple AT lewiz DOT net> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:09AM (#6579530) Homepage
    "Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it..."
    "No, actually, it's Felix Baumgartner."
    "Oh."
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jonsey ( 593310 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:10AM (#6579547) Journal
    He must have accelerated slowly.

    14 minutes is ~0.23 hours. 360km/h * .23h == 82.8km

    What interests me, is how he managed to accelerate up to the 360 kph mark, and slow back down, without the sharp sudden stop that I associate with skydiving. (C'mon you know you saw him bouncing along a field until he smacked into an old hardwood)
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:17AM (#6579624)
      He probably reached that speed towards the beginning of his flight/glide/dive, up in the much thinner (= less drag) air.

      As for slowing down, there are these devices called "parachutes" that skydivers, the succesful ones anyways, tend to favor.
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aziraphale ( 96251 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:17AM (#6579626)
      I think you've forgotten about the fact that skydivers usually wear parachutes.

      Normal behavior for a skydiver is to fall out of a plane, accellerate up to terminal velocity, maintain that speed for a while, then open your parachute, which slows you down to a lower terminal velocity, then hit the ground and (hopefully) stop.

      Adding horizontal displacement to the mix shouldn't change the nature of the problem too much....
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by bakreule ( 95098 ) <bkreulenNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:45AM (#6579929) Homepage
        Normal behavior for a skydiver is to fall out of a plane, accellerate up to terminal velocity, maintain that speed for a while, then open your parachute, which slows you down to a lower terminal velocity, then hit the ground and (hopefully) stop.

        If this is a troll, I'll bite, but since there are two comments in the same vein, I don't think it is. Unless the trolls are teaming up.. dear god..

        Speaking from skydiving experience, if you open your parachute at 360kph, the parachute will be ripped right off your back and probably break a few bones in the process.

        Even during a "normal" skydive the diver can accelerate to around 160mph (sorry for the sudden unit switch) by falling vertically. However, before deploying the parachute, the skydiver must slow themselves down by going into the "neutral" position: arched back, hands and legs out. This will slow the diver down to around 120mph, which is safe to deploy the canopy.

        • I understood he ditched the wing before deploying the chute. Presumably bleeding off the horizontal speed wouldn't be much harder than it is for a normal skydiver... especially given that with a glider wing, you can trade speed for altitude fairly easily.

          How fast is a sky diver usually going horizontally when they get out of a plane?
          • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Informative)

            by bakreule ( 95098 )
            How fast is a sky diver usually going horizontally when they get out of a plane?

            On a normal skydive, about 90-110mph, depending on the plane. No idea for this jump, considering the special nature....

      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Funny)

        by EReidJ ( 551124 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @11:01AM (#6580076) Homepage
        Normal behavior for a skydiver is to fall out of a plane, accellerate up to terminal velocity, maintain that speed for a while, then open your parachute, which slows you down to a lower terminal velocity, then hit the ground and (hopefully) stop.

        Um, no, there's no hopefully about it. When you hit the ground, you WILL stop, parachute or no parachute.

        The state of your body when you stop is open for debate...

    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      In skydiving you acclerate pretty fast but there is a target speed that you can hardly pass, it depends on your position, if you go belly down you go slower than if you have your head down (or up).

      Slowdown is pretty sharp too, but it is still not an instant stop, so the shock is there but it normally doesn't tears the limbs.
    • Those figures aren't surprising. It's a little glider. I doubt it can stall like a regular glider and come to a momentary standstill, but still it has to have some kind of stall characteristic which usually means it can be slowed down quite a bit before it starts dropping like a rock again. Also, he had to have pulled a parachute at the end. That's what's really pulling down the average. Also, maybe he has to pull a chute or else it's a glide and not a dive. If this becomes popular, you just know that

    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Raindeer ( 104129 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:37AM (#6579858) Homepage Journal
      Since your replies seem to suggest your sincere, I thought I'd give a reply.

      Jumping from the height this guy was on, means you have less drag, but the drag increases when you go lower, until he reaches the lower parts of the atmosphere where unpowered flight seems to be limited to about 220kph. Now would he have jumped out at 30km height, he would have broken the sound barrier and then, slowed down to 220kph.

      This ofcourse holds untill the density goes (quite abruptly) up to that of solid rock, at which point velocity goes down to zero.

      • by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @01:02PM (#6581267)

        Now would he have jumped out at 30km height, he would have broken the sound barrier and then, slowed down to 220kph.

        Mach I at 30 km (18.6 miles) is about 675 mph. He was travelling, at his fastest, at 360 kmh (200 mph), nowhere near the sound barrier at any altitude. The sound barrier increases and decreases even as altitude increases, but it never goes lower than about 660 mph. Here's a chart of Mach 1 at different altitudes [aerospaceweb.org].

        (On an entirely different note, has anyone besides me noticed that the quality of Slashdot moderation has degraded over the last year or so? I haven't been "assigned" mod points since the great move West, but I know I used to do a better job than what passes for moderation these days. The mod system needs something way much more effective than the current M2 system which does absolutely nothing. I mean, we're talking about something fundamental as the speed of sound.)

        • by atomicdragon ( 619181 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @02:49PM (#6582159)
          I believe the post was referring to the jump made by US Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger who jumped from roughly 30 km and nearly broke the sound barrier in 1960. His maximum speed was 614 mph, which is about mach 0.91. He probably could have gone faster than sound had he jumped a little higher and/or opened his chute later. Google his name and you will find more info.

    • I'm not saying it isn't possible, what with wind currents and all, but that top speed bothers me. 360 km/h ~= 226 mph, and that's NASCAR racing speed, folks, not a paraplane. I have a hunch we may be in the presence of a typo -- 36.0km/h would be more in line with my expectations of reality.

    • 14 minutes is ~0.23 hours. 360km/h * .23h == 82.8km

      That's incredible! The article also said:

      Mr Baumgartner said the plane was at 30,000 ft (9,000 m) when he jumped - and he initially reached speeds of 360 km (220 miles) per hour. For most of the freefall, he was travelling at about 220 km (135 miles) per hour, he said.

      Well, that's not so incredible now. The BBC diagram [bbc.co.uk] makes things reasonably clear. 9km up 36km long, surprisingly enough gives you a path that's not that much longer than 37 km, we'll

  • Oh my (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cirrius ( 304487 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:11AM (#6579561)
    "with a large carbon fin strapped to his back"

    This is a ricey-car reply waiting to happen
  • Space (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bigby ( 659157 )
    I don't see how hard this could be with wings and 5+ miles of altitude to work with. However, it is pretty cool.
    • It's not hard, it's just cheaper than putting your car on a Channel Ferry over the summer. I suspect his kids are flying over next week, with carbon miniwings, buckets and spades...
  • by superdan2k ( 135614 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:12AM (#6579569) Homepage Journal
    1. Add a heat sheild.
    2. Add pressure suit.
    3. Increase altitude to 62 miles.
    4. Find X-Prize team loony enough to let someone jump out the door.
    ...
    6. Profit.

    (Seriously, as an occasional skydiver/former paratrooper, this sounds like a f--king blast.)
    • Already been (more or less) done. Back in the '60s, Some Air Force guy jumped out a balloon at aroung 150000ft (IE: 30 miles). No heat shield needed.
      • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:39AM (#6579867)
        http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/coldwar/pe. htm

        "On the third and last jump in Excelsior III on August 16, 1960, Captain Kittinger jumped from a height of 102,800 feet, almost 20 miles above the earth. With only the small stabilizing chute deployed, Kittinger fell for 4 minutes, 36 seconds. He experienced temperatures as low as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum speed of 714 miles per hour, exceeding the speed of sound. The 28-foot main parachute did not open until Kittinger reached the much thicker atmosphere at 17,500 feet. Kittinger safely landed in the New Mexico desert after a 13 minute 45 second descent. Project Excelsior successfully proved the new parachute system would solve the problem of high altitude escape by crewmen."

        http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/eagles/kitt-3.jpg
        • It should also be mentioned that he 714mph figure is considered unreliable these days... aparently calculations and modeling shows he would've needed to jump a mile or two higher to have hit supersonic speeds.

    • When I read about this and saw the picture, I immediately thought of Scaled Composites' entry Space Ship One [scaled.com] and jumping from it at apogee. Space Ship One returns to earth in a high drag configuration to minimize aerodynamic heating (which would be important for a parachutist).

      As for the technology being available, this was first done in 1962 by USAF Capt. Joe Kittinger [att.net].

      The only element required now is to find somebody stupid enough to try it.

      myke
    • It's not a crazy as you think.

      Both the USAF and a small number of civilian companies are actually studying this very possibility. We may within 20 years have the technology to have astronauts fitted with strap-on components to their spacesuits that will allow them to safely return to Earth--fiery re-entry included. This will make is possible to escape the International Space Station or its successors in more dire situations.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:14AM (#6579586) Homepage
    Mr Baumgartner had prepared for three years for this flight, with rigorous training including strapping himself on to the top of a speeding Porsche.

    Did the driver know ?

    "What Officer, a man strapped to the roof of the car as we went down the AutoBahn ?"
    "Yes sir"
    "I don't belive you, why isn't he there now"
    "He dropped off over the bridge and glided over the river"
    "Have you been drinking officer ?"

    Blow into the bag son, blow into the bag.
  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:15AM (#6579599) Journal
    We could have saved a lot of money and time with this methodology.
    • Actually, if you'd read up on your WWII history, you'd know that gliders were acutally an integral part of the D-Day invasion in 1944. They were sent in before the the land-invasion and knocked out communication lines to prevent the beach-head forces from calling for more re-enforcements.

      It acutally turned into a rather big debacle as many of the gilders did not perform well, killing their soliders, and many that did operate correctly did not make the designated target, landing miles and miles away from w
  • That's odd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by marcopo ( 646180 )
    BBC reporter said that: "At first he was just a distant speck hurtling through the morning sky, only occasionally visible between the clouds. With his carbon fibre wings silhouetted against the rising Sun it was a bizarre sight." ...

    Which is odd given that the guy flew from Dover to France, i.e.\ was comming from west by north-west.

  • Fin? (Score:5, Funny)

    by worst_name_ever ( 633374 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:15AM (#6579610)
    From the photos accompanying the article, it looks as if the thing strapped to his back was less of a "fin" and more of a small set of wings. If so, the message here is basically "Man puts on tiny hang glider and, after being air-dropped from high altitude, glides for a few miles."

    I forsee a day when humans will attach themselves to ever-larger winged contraptions and travel further and further with each passing year. Perhaps, some day in the far future, these "aero-planes" might be equipped with powerful "jet-engines" which would enable the intrepid pioneers of the sky to travel across the very oceans themselves. Perhaps pretzels could also be served on these voyages.

    • Re:Fin? (Score:5, Funny)

      by McWilde ( 643703 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:32AM (#6579801) Homepage
      Pending the arrival of your ridiculous "aero-planes", me and a few friends of mine are working on building a trebuchet to sling people across the Channel. People will probably need to strap on one of these fins, or the initial velocity has to be above the speed of sound.
    • by Merk ( 25521 )

      Seriously. The article says: "He wore only an aerodynamic jumpsuit with a 6-foot (1.8-metre) carbon fin strapped to his back, an oxygen tank from which to breathe, and a parachute to land." Just how does "Only" make sense in that context? Take a look at the picture [bbc.co.uk]. He's got a small house on his back!

      I, for one, plan to upstage this guy by jumping across the pacific ocean with only a little bit of padding(* [keystoneaviation.com]) strapped to my ass.

  • Training (Score:3, Funny)

    by pizen ( 178182 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:16AM (#6579614)
    From the BBC article:
    "Mr Baumgartner had prepared for three years for this flight, with rigorous training including strapping himself on to the top of a speeding Porsche."

    Are we sure this isn't a Darwin Award?
    • From the BBC article:
      "Mr Baumgartner had prepared for three years for this flight, with rigorous training including strapping himself on to the top of a speeding Porsche."

      Are we sure this isn't a Darwin Award?

      That usually involves death. So if he died doing this, then yes, it would qualify. Though I think he's generally been prepared and done stupid things as opposed to most of the winners who are just stupid and didn't need to prepare to do something stupid :-P
    • Yeah, so I mean he's a potential candidate. Forgive me, it's early.
    • You know, if there is going to be something called a "Darwin Award," in the true spirit of Darwinism it should be given to whomever makes the most babies. Just so everybody has a fair chance they could exclude cockroaches and NBA players.
  • ...to mention kangaroos, barbies, shrimps, or anything to do with Australia gets to follow him, but without a chute... :)
  • Since when were you allowed to strap a small aircraft to your back and call it skydiving?
  • by RayOfLight ( 266465 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:21AM (#6579656)
    It's funny how both Sky News and BBC say the speed reached is 220 mph and how CNN says it's 200 km/h. Hmm... someone's obviously got it wrong. ;-)

    But then again, who (here) is to notice this discrepancy. ;-) It'd require READING ALL THREE ARTICLES.
  • How much velocity is necessary to start horizontal flight? I mean, what would have kept someone from strapping their glass desktop cover to their back and jumping outta the window?
    • what would have kept someone from strapping their glass desktop cover to their back and jumping outta the window?

      Oh, the realization that the total lack of aerodynamic control inherent in all regular desktop glass cover designs would mean that not only would someone end up on the sidwalk as a large wet spot, but a large wet spot with a lot of broken glass in it would be my guess.

    • Turbulence in from the wind moving around the buildings would be a problem, that would probably make it as bad of an option as jumping.

      Plus a glass desktop cover is going to be heavy and it don't have an airfoil to it so it's going to drop like a piece of glass and get a flutter to it.

      http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/cameo/dr_a l oh a/terrain/terrain.html

      "Even if air flow into New York City is relatively steady and the winds predictable, ALOHA's first assumption is not likely to be met within the city
  • Reminded me of... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by billimad ( 629204 )
    Ace McCloud [robozone.com] from The Centurians. Click the first image link.
  • Read it and weep you "defcon jump" weenies!

  • by RobinH ( 124750 )
    Ok, it's very cool, looks really fun, and it's an impressive feat, but can you really call it skydiving if you strap wings on yourself? What's with calling it a "fin"? I'm sorry, but those are wings. I'm pretty sure that a bird that high up with an oxygen tank could "skydive" (AKA glide") 35 km too.

    Now, if someone wants to try this with only a parachute strapped to their back, then I'll agree with you that it's skydiving. All this guy did was fly across the English Channel in a really small glider that
  • Unaided? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GreenKiwi ( 221281 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:31AM (#6579785)
    "With the aid of a specially engineered carbon composite wing. Baumgartner will leap out of a transport plane from flight leve 270 (9000 meter - the height of Mount Everest) and then soar towards another world record at over 360km/h. If he succeeds, he will be the first person to have crossed the channel unaided, in free fall."

    He's not really in free fall, it's in a glide with a wing that provides some lift and direction. Hardly seems "unaided" and in fact, his own statement above states that he's "aided" by the wing.

    Still, it looks very very cool.
  • Leo Valentin FWIW (Score:3, Informative)

    by cyber_rigger ( 527103 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:32AM (#6579800) Homepage Journal
    The pioneer of this idea was Leo Valentin. He made several rigid wing skydives in the 1950s.
  • by calags ( 12705 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:39AM (#6579866)
    ...but this takes the cake.

  • So much for skydiving.

    badddaaabooommm
    Thank you, there will be a repeat performance at 3:00 and again at 5:00.

    Seriously though, this dude is my hero. I never heard of him before this story, but strapping a wing on your back and jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet. Damn, what a cool way to die.

    That is how I wanna go out.

    I am gonna be the coolest dude in heaven.

    Or hell. Depending on your outlook on such things.
  • Sadly, the wife said no. I guess it's another tie for me. /me cries.
  • by attaboy ( 689931 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:52AM (#6579996)

    While the photo on the BBC article shows a "backpack" with hard wings sticking out of it, the description (especially that of his legs getting tangled in the rear wings) sounds more like a "Birdman" type suit.

    Popular Science did a great article on gliding/sky diving with wings featuring the Birdman suits. Read it here. [popsci.com]

    This article has some good info that helps answer comments made below about diving with wings not really being free-fall, but in fact being a form of gliding.

  • I wonder if he came in at the right angle and at the right speed.... Could he also become the first person to skip across the English Channel. Now that would be something to see.
  • by Bertie ( 87778 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @10:59AM (#6580054)
    ...Some Austrian guy threw himself headlong into France, caught them all by surprise with the audacity and speed of it... ...And there wasn't a white flag of surrender in sight.
  • by chirone ( 643355 )
    Einstein was kinda right about relativity.

    from CNN:
    ...jumping from an aircraft above the English port of Dover and landing near Calais six minutes and 22 seconds later with crowds...

    from BBC:
    ...leapt from a plane above Dover at 0509 BST, landing 22 miles (35 kilometres) away in Cap Blanc-Nez near Calais just 14 minutes later...

  • by luugi ( 150586 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @11:15AM (#6580202)
    CNN says

    "God of the Skies" covered a distance of 35 kilometers (20 miles) during his flight, reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometers an hour.


    BBC says:

    Mr Baumgartner said the plane was at 30,000 ft (9,000 m) when he jumped - and he initially reached speeds of 360 km (220 miles) per hour. For most of the freefall, he was travelling at about 220 km (135 miles) per hour, he said.
    .

  • So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lelitsch ( 31136 ) on Thursday July 31, 2003 @11:55AM (#6580592)
    Apart from the weird contraption that he strapped on his back, what is the big news here? My former army unit and special forces all across NATO have done HAHO (High Altitude High Opening) jumps that go more than 50km since the 80s. Usually with predecessors of the G9 [parachutes.de]. The main problem is that it's extremly cold at 8-10,000 meters and that you have to jump with supplemental oxygen. Don't try this at home, people have gotten frostbite and even died in exercises.

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