The AT50: Skydiver Felix Baumgartner (#27)

Space-jumper whose sonic boom was heard 'round the world
Staff Writer

Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Age: 43
Sports: Skydiving, BASE jumping
Highlights: Red Bull Stratos: Highest parachute jump (127,852'), highest altitude manned balloon flight (128,097') and fastest free fall velocity (843.6 mph); (disputed) lowest BASE jump ever (95'), from Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue; first person to skydive across the English Channel
Quote: "As a little kid, I climbed a lot of trees because I always loved the bird's-eye view."
Fact: Felix completed more than 2,500 parachute jumps prior to the Stratos jump.
AT Point Total: 40

Born in Austria the same year Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, it's no wonder a young Felix Baumgartner dreamed about flying and skydiving. Over the ensuing years, a singular focus—he joined the military and practiced parachute jumping, which led to skydiving, BASE jumping and all-around daredevilry—and a dream invitation to the Red Bull Stratos Project brought "Fearless Felix," now 43, to the edge of space last October.

Standing on the lip of a balloon-lifted capsule at 127,852 feet, he took a magnificent step into the unknown that sent his body hurtling earthward at 843.6 mph (a speed that, had his jumpsuit failed, would've "made his skin boil"), making him the first person ever to break the sound barrier without vehicular power. And 8 million people watched him, breath held, until he landed safely in the desert below. We're not sure why Felix loves jumping into the unknown, but we look forward to taking the next leap with him.
—Alex Glascock

Click here to view The Active Times 50 slideshow.

Click here to return to The Active Times 50.


No votes yet

Let's Be Friends. Follow The Active Times on Facebook!