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Flying without airplanes...wow.

The Evil Genius

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Thats one hell of a dive.

'God of the Skies' Makes Channel Crossing

Thu Jul 31, 2003

LONDON (Reuters) - An Austrian stuntman on Thursday became the first person to skydive across the English Channel, free falling at 124 miles per hour in the process.

Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a plane at 29,500 feet above Dover, England, wearing a specially constructed carbon wing and flew toward France before parachuting into hills above the port of Calais.

"I made it which is great," he told reporters on landing.

"It's pretty cold up there. I still can feel nothing," said the self-styled "God of the Skies," who started parachuting as a teenager before taking up the extreme sport of BASE jumping.

Setting off early in the morning to avoid commercial flights, Baumgartner used oxygen supplies during the 22 mile flight to survive the rarefied air.

His team estimates that he attained a top speed of more than 124 miles per hour during the fall, which took only around 10 minutes.

In contrast, Louis Bleriot took 37 minutes to make his ground-breaking flight across the channel in 1909 and Matthew Webb took 22 hours to swim it for the first time in 1875.

The special wing is made of the same special lightweight carbon composite used in Formula One racing cars.

Baumgartner, 34, set world records for the highest and lowest parachute dives in 1999 with daredevil jumps from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro.

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Sounds like a riot.

But, honestly ... not THAT big a leap (pardon the expression) in technology or man's ability to conquer the skies. He was still reliant on a powered vehicle to get him to 30K ... and then hoping his chute opened AND he found a crocodile-free zone to land in. :)

When I'll be really impressed with this little wing thing is then it's powered ... and allows him to take off AND land under his own power at locations of his choosing.

I want mine with retractable wings, so I can tuck it into my briefcase when I get to work.

Cup holder for my coffee would be nice too.

And maybe a napkin dispenser so I can tidy up from my morning crueller. :)

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