The man on the left above is one Felix Baumgartner. The man on the right is of course Mr. Ed Miliband.
Herr Baumgartner who hails from Austria has a dangerous hobby. He likes jumping off tall buildings and out of aeroplanes, the higher the better. Now Herr Baumgartner wishes to step off from an even higher object – a high altitude helium balloon to be precise. From an altitude of 120,000 feet. Yes that is 22 miles 5 furlongs and 8 chains up – almost on the edge of space!
Part of Herr Baumgartner’s reasoning for attempting this jump is that not only does he wish to become the man who has jumped from the highest platform. He also wishes to become the man who has fallen the fastest. Acceleration due to gravity is as we learned in our physics lessons is 32.2 ft per second per second (which can also be written as 32.2 ft/s2) – we are not going to insult our readers by using the metric measure.
Herr Baumgartner calculates that if he delays opening his parachute until the last possible moment he will accelerate to such a speed that his body will experience the transonic shockwaves of breaking the sound barrier! Those of us less fascinated by great heights may be wondering if the intrepid Austrian is allowing himself sufficient time to make a soft landing ?
You see, one of Herr Baumgartner’s ambitions is to be the first man to break the sound barrier – without that seemingly necessary (and polluting) accoutrement, a supersonic aircraft!
Herr Baumgartner is best known for gliding 22 miles across the English Channel with the help of a 6 foot “wing” strapped to his back after jumping from 33,000 feet in 2003.
The British Gazette wishes Herr Baumgartner the best of luck but would advise him to take a partner along as well. We suggest Mr. Ed Miliband – this poor benighted country’s minister for climate change. We would suggest that he persuade Mr. Miliband to join him by suggesting that high altitude helium balloons are “a green alternative to polluting jumbo jets” – the parachute jump being a necessary evaluation of the “in-flight” safety feature? Of course this is nonsense but then Ed Miliband’s beliefs are nonsense – so no change there then!
Two videos of Herr Baumgartner’s previous exploits are below: