Felix Baumgartner

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Felix Baumgartner
Baumgartner in 2013
Born (1969-04-20) 20 April 1969 (age 54)
Salzburg, Austria
Other namesB.A.S.E. 502 – Fearless Felix

Felix Baumgartner (German: [ˈfeːlɪks ˈbaʊ̯mˌɡaʁtnɐ]; born 20 April 1969) is an Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper.[1] He is widely 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.[a][b] 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 (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 was born to mother Eva in Salzburg, Austria. His younger brother is Gerard.[17][18][19][c][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 conduct an unauthorized BASE jump from the 91st floor observation deck of the then-tallest completed building in the world, Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan. Baumgartner was then banned from re-entry into Taiwan as a result of the incident. [30]

Red Bull Stratos[edit]

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, using a helium balloon.[31]

Test jumps[edit]

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[edit]

The launch was originally scheduled for 9 October 2012 but was aborted due to adverse weather conditions. Launch was rescheduled and took place on 14 October 2012. Baumgartner landed in eastern New Mexico after jumping from a then world-record 38,969.3 metres (127,852 feet),[12][36][37] falling a record distance of 36,402.6 metres (119,431 feet) and parachuting the final 2,566.7 metres (8,421 feet).

During this descent Baumgartner 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.[38][39] Baumgartner was in free fall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, a fall time 17 seconds shorter than the record set during mentor Joseph Kittinger's jump on 16 August 1960.[38] Kittinger was also his radio contact during the jump.

Two years and 10 days later Baumgartner's altitude record was broken by Alan Eustace.[40]

Training for the jump[edit]

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[edit]

In 2014, Baumgartner decided to join Audi Motorsport to drive an Audi R8 LMS for the 2014 24 Hours of Nürburgring 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]

Professional Boxing[edit]

Baumgartner had one fight which he won ... Boxing record for Felix Baumgartner from BoxRec (registration required).

Personal life[edit]

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[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Space diving
  • Eugene Andreyev — the former record holder for the longest-distance free fall jump
  • Michel Fournier — who has been working on a 25-mile (40 km) jump for several years
  • Nick Piantanida — flew highest balloon flight prior to Baumgartner: 123,500-foot (37,600 m) in 1966.
  • Project Manhigh — pre-NASA military project that took men in balloons to the middle layers of Earth's stratosphere. Participants set altitude and parachute jump records.
  • Pyotr Dolgov — died in 1962 carrying out a high-altitude jump
  • Charles "Nish" Bruce — In the early 1990s, Kittinger played lead role assisting him to break the highest altitude record.[60] The project was suspended in 1994 following Bruce's mental health breakdown.
  • Steve Truglia — English stuntman who was planning a similar jump


  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.


  1. ^ a b Abrams, Michael (2006). Birdmen, Batmen, and Skyflyers: Wingsuits and the Pioneers Who Flew in Them, Fell in Them, and Perfected Them. New York City: Harmony Books. pp. 247–251. ISBN 978-1-4000-5491-6.
  2. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c 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 2 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. ^ a b c "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. ^ 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 2 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. ^ a b 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 - Telegraph". 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012.
  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. ^ "Baumgartner jumps from world's highest bridge | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz.
  29. ^ "Pr-jippo kan sluta med åtal" (in Swedish). 18 August 2006. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  30. ^ "Extreme Felix Baumgartner jumping off Taipei 101". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. 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. ^ a b 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.
  39. ^ Tierney, John (14 October 2012). "Daredevil Jumps, and Lands on His Feet". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  40. ^ "Record ID 16671, Parachuting – Freefall distance Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, 14 October 2012. Accessed: 15 December 2013.
  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 Archived 18 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine 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. ^ Um 13:31, 24 July 2013 (24 July 2013). "Felix Baumgartner: Ohrfeige ist "angemessene..." Die Presse.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  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. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  52. ^ "Facebook-Seite gelöscht: Felix Baumgartner ortet "politische Eliten" dahinter". Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  53. ^ a b "Sein tiefster Fall". Die Zeit (in German). 14 November 2013.
  54. ^ Luciano, C. (6 January 2015). "Meet Mihaela Radulescu, Felix Baumgartner's Girlfriend".
  55. ^ "Baumgartner: "Millennium" BAMBI". Archived from the original on 20 February 2014.
  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.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Highest space dive (38.969 km)
14 October 2012 – 24 October 2014
Succeeded by