The intrepid sportsman took two key members of the Red Bull Stratos team to his birthplace for his birthday and for one last visit before his record-breaking leap from the edge of space…
It’s been a week of home comforts and celebrations for Felix Baumgartner as he travelled to his home town of Salzburg before attempting his historic Red Bull Stratos jump later this year.
Joining Felix were two key members of the Red Bull Stratos team, mentor and current record holder Joe Kittinger and Technical Project Director Art Thompson.
Images of Joe Kittinger jumping from his capsule at over 31,000 metres in 1960 astonished the world and opened up a new chapter in space exploration. Since that famous day, no person has been able to match the American’s breathtaking achievement. Now, more than 50 years later, Kittinger is determined to help Felix achieve his dream: “If anyone can do it, Felix is the man,” said Kittinger. “We want to advance safety in space travel and we are on a very good, professional path to doing that.”
“Joe and Art have become my family,” continued Felix. “They give me confidence and keep me calm. I am really pleased to be able to show them where I come from.”
Joe and Art were delighted to have the chance to visit Austria: “Felix talks a lot about where he’s from – and now I understand why,” smiled Thompson during a guided tour of vintage airplanes in Red Bull’s famous Hangar-7.
Kittinger, Thompson and Baumgartner then visited the impressive white fortress overlooking Salzburg and took in the sights of the city’s Medieval old town before heading for the skies in a helicopter piloted by Felix to admire the beautiful landscape - in particular, Baumgartner’s own private “training centre”, the Drachenwand rock face.
After touching down in nearby Leogang for lunch in a traditional mountain hut, Kittinger and Thompson joined Baumgartner at the Scalaria restaurant on the shores of Lake Wolfgang on Friday to celebrate the Austrian’s 43rd birthday.
Baumgartner will soon return to the US to prepare for his second test jump, which is planned to take place this summer.