October 15, 2012 by hattersleysmith
No small steps for Felix Baumgartner as he took his giant leap for man and mankind on 14th October 2012.
Strapped tight into a $2,000 pressure suit, he launched himself from his balloon through the stratosphere, freefalling for 4 and a half minutes at 834mph to land on Earth having taken the death-defying step 10 minutes earlier.
The world held its breath, preparing themselves for the spectacle of a man falling to his death. But, as Steve Jobs noted, ‘the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’. Yesterday Baumgartner was a crazy 43 year old Austrian who loved to throw himself from planes, today he stands immortal in the history books of a planet.
Satisfyingly fatter from our Sunday roast, watching Downton snuggled round the fire and contemplating my own terrifyingly thrilling skydive from 13,000 feet in June, the enormity of Baumgartner’s stunt suddenly struck me and I was reminded of my favourite line from Herbert’s poem ‘Easter Wings’:
“Then shall the fall
Further the flight in me.”
Although he tells the press that he plans to settle down as a rescue helicopter pilot, this extraordinary plummet has allowed him to soar to instant global fame, admiration and respect.