Safe landing for Icarus II

An Austrian mechanic has become the first person ever to fly across the English Channel without the benefit of an aircraft.

    Felix Baumgartner in flight

    Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner tempted fate by dubbing his flight Icarus II, but he enjoyed certain advantages over his unfortunate Greek forebear, who plunged to his death when his homemade wings failed. 

    Instead of wax and feathers, Baumgartner chose a streamlined suit and carbon-fibre wings, and most importantly, he began his cross-channel glide not on southeast England's chalk cliffs, but 9,000 metres higher.

    Serial risk-taker

    To launch him on his high-speed glide, he was taken up from Calais in a Skyvan aircraft, from which he jumped above the English port of Dover.

    His unusual journey began at 6:09 am (0409 GMT), and ended 1,000 metres above Cape Blanc-Nez, near the French town of Calais, where he opened a parachute and landed at 6:23 am on Thursday.

    Safe on French soil.

    Baumgartner, who reached a speed of some 200 kilometres an hour during his glide, was wearing an aerodynamic suit fitted with a six-foot carbon-fibre wing for the 35 kilometre glide.

    He used special breathing apparatus for the high-altitude start of the flight, and was protected from the extreme cold by his special suit.

    Baumgartner has a long track record of daredevil jumps. He has leapt from the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, one of the two Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur - the tallest buildings in the world - and the top of a mountain in Baffin Island, in Canada.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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