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Felix Baumgartner Getting Ready to Try a 22-Mile Fall -

Stashed in: Awesome, Skywalkers!, Psychology!, Falling!, Red Bull!

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Finally, a different angle.

"While building the customized suit and capsule, the team of aerospace veterans had to contend with one crucial uncertainty: What happens to the human body when it breaks the sound barrier? There was also one major unexpected problem for Mr. Baumgartner, known to his fans as Fearless Felix.

Although he had no trouble jumping off buildings and bridges, and soaring across the English Channel in a carbon-fiber wing, he found himself suffering panic attacks when forced to spend hours inside the pressurized suit and helmet. At one point in 2010, rather than take an endurance test in it, he went to an airport and fled the United States. With the help of a sports psychologist and other specialists, he learned techniques for dealing with the claustrophobia.

One of the techniques Mr. Baumgartner developed for dealing with claustrophobia was to stay busy throughout the ascent. Mr. Baumgartner conversed steadily, in Austrian-accented English, with Mr. Kittinger, a former fighter pilot whose deep voice exuded the right stuff as he confidently went through a 40-item checklist rehearsing every move that Mr. Baumgartner would make when it came time to leave the capsule — tasks like sliding his seat forward, checking his parachutes, and carefully opening the hatch."

He jumped into a 23 mile free fall DESPITE CLAUSTROPHOBIA?!


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