Friday, July 27, 2012

Watch That First Step...

If plummeting were an Olympic sport, Felix  Baumgartner would be a leading contender for a gold medal. On July 25th, he made the second test jump for the Red Bull Stratos project. He rode a balloon up to 96,640 feet, and jumped. Several minutes later, he popped his chute and floated down to a safe landing. Next up: the free-fall record.

I couldn't find an embeddable video, but here is the clip they posted on their own site. This is what they're aiming for, though:

But, I have to give an honorable mention to a man whose story I read about earlier this week. Cliff Judkins was a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, ferrying an F-8 Crusader fighter across the Pacific. What should have been a routine tanker rendezvous went horribly wrong. In short order, he experienced just about every kind of mishap you can have in an airplane. First, his engine failed. Then, it caught fire. If that weren't bad enough, his primary ejection handle failed, as did the backup. The manual canopy jettison worked, though. But his parachute didn't. Amazingly enough, he lived to tell the tale. Yes, you heard that right, he fell FIFTEEN THOUSAND FEET with NO PARACHUTE, and ... well, you don't exactly walk away from that, but after six months he was flying again.

Go here to read it. It's an amazing story.

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