10 years after breaking the sound barrier, Félix Baumgartner revealed unpublished details of his feat: “I had a hard time breathing”

A decade has passed since October 14, 2012the day on which the Austrian athlete Felix Baumgartner achieved one of the great feats in history: he threw himself from a height of 39,000 meters and became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical assistance. His impressive jump also allowed him to break three world records. An event without comparison that brings back many memories to its protagonist.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper BRANDwhich has released a documentary about this historic event on its YouTube channel, baumgartner has revealed some unpublished details about how he was preparing to complete the test and what it felt like to free fall to 1,357.6 kilometers per hour from the stratosphere.

“There are so many things that could have gone wrong that day. Just to launch the balloon, perfect conditions were needed. If the wind is too strong, you can’t even take off. There was a lot of pressure with the balloons, because before the official attempt we had exhausted several in the tests and we only had one left, so we had to do it right. Also, each one takes six months to build And they cost an enormous amount of money. Once in the air, there were other risks: would the balloon reach 35,000 meters? Would you be able to open the capsule door? Would the suit work? Would you be able to control the fall…?”, commented the skydiver.

Félix Baumgartner threw himself from the stratosphere and became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help (Photo: Reuters)

When asked about what was the most difficult aspect that he had to go through to accomplish this feat that took him “five years of preparation” and required “hundreds of meetings with scientists”Félix Baumgartner explains that he had to deal with many obstacles on a mental level.

I wasn’t claustrophobic, but the suit became a real problem for me. Once the viewfinder closes, you are completely cut off from the outside world and alone with your thoughts. You can hardly see anything and the only thing you hear is your own breathing. Everyone is out talking and having a good time and you are stuck in the suit. I had a hard time breathing; it was like trying to breathe through a pillow and it made me anxious and, in addition, sometimes I spent up to 7 hours in there. In the end I had to call a psychologist to solve the problem. He changed my perspective: he taught me to treat the suit as my friend and not my enemy because it was the suit that kept me alive. That helped me a lot,” he explained.

In his dialogue with BRAND, baumgartner also He related what his sensations were when looking at the ground before making the jump: “It was strange, because I wanted to enjoy the moment, really live it and breathe itbecause we had worked hard to get there. I started skydiving at 17, and 35 years later, I was standing on a platform 135,000 feet above the ground, looking down at the earth in all its glory.. She was looking at the landscape, she could see some small mountains and she was trying to figure out where exactly she was. The problem is that at that point I had turned my oxygen off and I only had 10 minutes before it ran out., so I was in a hurry to jump. I would have liked to stay there longer.”

Baumgartner threw himself from 39,000 meters above sea level and descended at 1,357.6 kilometers per hour.
Baumgartner threw himself from 39,000 meters above sea level and descended at 1,357.6 kilometers per hour.

The fall had been studied in detail and his experience as a skydiver was important to get it right, but while doing it he encountered some difficulties. “Before the jump there was a 50% of the scientists who said that it would be able to control the spin while falling and another 50% who said that it would spin violently without control. She didn’t know who to believe. She knew that to some extent she could control the spin with my skydiving skillsbut the problem was that before entering the atmosphere the air is basically a vacuum, so it is extremely difficult to use the body to control the spin because there is no resistance. You don’t have time to think cause you’re traveling faster than a bullet. Once I started spinning, I had to worry about how I could stop it, to stop that spin by doing special maneuvers trying to figure out what to do. Once I managed to control the situation, I began to enjoy it more.”pointed baumgartner.

His experience has been shocking to many but Felix Baumgartner He considers himself an ordinary person who managed to achieve his goals. “Well, I had two dreams in life. One was to be a skydiver, and I have achieved it. The other was to fly helicopters. Right now, I’m flying aerobatic helicopters for Red Bullwhich is great. I am a normal human being, many things scare me. Failure scares me and 10 years ago today, I was especially afraid of not doing well, especially with everyone watching. If I failed, I would have become the joke of the century.”


The first human to break the sound barrier: world fame, scandals and a girlfriend who left him for selfish

The unusual moment in which a man got his parachute entangled and managed to save himself for a second

New world milestone in extreme sports: a pilot exchanged his plane in mid-flight