Like a real-life James Bond, the 37-year old Austrian Felix Baumgartner has in the past seven years not only set milestones in skydiving, but more specifically in BASE jumping, which is prohibited in most countries, and given this extreme sport cinematic dimensions.
In 1999, when he leaped from the highest skyscraper in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, he went up disguised as a businessman, carrying his parachute in a briefcase and than climbing through the ventilation shaft. A year later he jumped from the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro after using a crossbow to shoot a line around the arm of the famous landmark in order to climb up.
His biggest achievement came in 2003 when he soared across the English Channel with carbon wings strapped to his back -- a device being tested by various military forces around the world.
Today, at exactly 6:40 a.m., the daredevil from Salzburg has added yet another chapter to his spectacular career. Leaping from the so-called “Turning Torso” in the Swedish city of Malmö – with a height of 190 meters, Scandinavia´s most spectacular building -- Baumgartner opened his parachute after three seconds of freefall. Upon touchdown, he took off on the back of his assistant´s motorcycle.
Due to the high level of security, Baumgartner landed on the roof of the 57-story twisted building – designed by architect Santiago Calatrava -- in typical fashion: He first jumped from a helicopter using a second parachute, landed atop the building, removed the parachute, put on the other one, and jumped just three minutes later from the “Turning Torso.” “The preparation was a very complex challenge,” Baumgartner explained on the boat back to Denmark.
For weeks he closely studied the building in preparation.
“Landing on the roof with a parachute is something I´ve wanted to try for a long time and I did it because they said it was impossible”
*BASE jumping is the sport of using a parachute to jump from fixed objects. "BASE" is an acronym that stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump:
- Antenna (an uninhabited tower such as an aerial mast)
- Span (a bridge, arch or dome)
- Earth (a cliff or other natural formation)
World Champion B.A.S.E. jumping, West Virginia, USA.
World record set for the highest ever B.A.S.E. jump from a building: the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1479 feet / 451 meters). World record set for the lowest ever B.A.S.E. jump from the Christo Redentor statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (92 feet / 29 meters).
Nominated for the World Sports Awards in London, in the Extreme Sports category.
Added to the “Street of Champions” in Vienna, Austria. Others honoured here include Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Foreman, Pelé and Carl Lewis.
Lead role in Man vs. Machine race, the main stunt at the Taurus World Stunt Awards in Hollywood, USA. World record set for the first person to successfully cross the English Channel in freefall with a delta wing (22 miles / 36 kilometres).
B.A.S.E. jump into a 623 feet deep cave, the Mamet Cave in Velebit National Park, Croatia (623 feet / 190 meters). Bridge of the Americas, Panama: B.A.S.E. jump from the 393 feet high Panama Bridge (393 feet / 117 meters). World record: B.A.S.E. jumping from the highest bridge in the world, the Millau Bridge in France (1125 feet / 343 meters).
Star guest at the famous Late Night Show with Jay Leno, Los Angeles, USA.
B.A.S.E. jump from the highest building in Latin America, Torre Mayor in Mexico City (738 feet / 225 meters). B.A.S.E. jump from the highest building in Scandinavia, Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden (627 feet/ 190 meters). Felix getting pilot by passing exams for his helicopter license at Twin Air Helicopter School, Van Nuys, USA
Jump into the second biggest cave in the world: „Majlis Al Jinn“ or „Seating of the Spirits“ (396 feet/ 120 meters) three hours from Muscat, Oman.