On October 14, 2012 Felix Baumgartner made a historic jump from the edge of space that broke three world records by breaking the sound barrier at 1,342.8 km/h, the record for highest jump at 39,045 meters, and the longest vertical distance of freefall without a drogue parachute at 36,402.6 meters. The jump was precluded by over three years of preparation by the 25-year veteran base jumper and the Red Bull Stratos team, and has been lauded as a great scientific achievement.
One year after his jump, Felix is on a world tour to celebrate his historic jump. His stop in Kuwait included a visit to the Kuwait Towers, the Car Museum, breakfast at Slider Station and an afternoon with His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. We quickly catch up with Felix to get his thoughts on his recent visit.
It’s been one year since you broke three world records with a jump, what’s been the biggest change in your life since?
My life got busier; I’m on a world tour at the moment, visiting different countries and cities and sharing my experience.
You were claustrophobic before the jump, how did you overcome that fear to get into the capsule?
Dr. Michael Gervais, a sports psychologist who specializes in high-performance and “extreme” sports helped me conquer this fear through mental and physical training. I was becoming more focused on the suit rather on the Red Bull Stratos jump, he helped me change this.
At what moment when you were jumping did you stop being frightened, and start enjoying the fall?
There is fear before any jump. You cannot eliminate the fear. When I stopped spinning, I knew that I was in control, and at that time I started to enjoy the fall.
They say that seeing the world from that angle gives you a new perspective on humanity. Did the same happen for you?
Sometimes you have to be really high to see how small you really are.
Tell me about the moment when you began spiraling (about 1:30 minutes in), and how you regained control.
It was a very tough situation and I didn’t know if I could get out or not. It was brutal but I never thought I would lose my life. I was trying to regain control, and I knew there would be a moment where I would gain control.
During the test jumps did you experience any difficulties that made you afraid during the jump?
The only thing that happened was that in the 2nd test jump the capsule was damaged following a hard landing.
Was this your first time in Kuwait? What were your impressions?
Yes my first visit to Kuwait. The people are so nice and humble. Girls are shy. The food is great. Lots of tall and nice buildings.
What did you order for breakfast at Slider Station? Thoughts on the food?
Strawberry Crepes. Food is awesome in Kuwait.
At the Kuwait Car Museum did you see any classics for the first time? Any you would like to own?
Many cars I saw were for the first time. All 🙂
We heard you got some time on the track. What car did you drive? How did it go?
I drove a classic car Mercedes 280 SL Vigoda.
You experienced a Kuwaiti Diwaniya for the first time on this trip. What was that like? Any impressions?
I experienced a Kuwaiti Diwaniya at His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah’s palace. His hospitality was great and the food was great.
What was the most memorable moment in the day?
The whole visit to Kuwait was great although it was packed. We had a photo shoot in front of the Kuwait Towers. We ate nice food. We met his Highness Sheikh Nasser, a very humble man. The press conference was packed and the fans at the Mall 360 were great.