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Bernard Langlade
Photography: Jay Nemeth

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"The alone children know for what they look
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Extracted from the Small Prince)



He dared...

Firmly hung on in his short-lived nacelle, body Celestial Floating in the azure to 128 000 feet over the vast world, thus of which could think the countryman Félix Baumgartner?
Visualizing by the thought its future and hypothetical landing and remembering itself maybe its child's dreams, the Austrian steering wheel songeât-il in these few dreamlike, written lines of the hand of Saint-Exupéry...

".. He fell slowly as falls a tree. That did not even make noise because of the sand.
"

As it is not said that the Small Prince smiles to the evocation of this comforting perspective. Did Félix Baumgartner do the same?

Maybe his passionate spirit is crossed by the shadow of a doubt, by the awake cauchemard of a possible and horrifying failure. Maybe he recommended his soul
To his creator ; This bewildered soul which already seemed to levitate in almost empty one sidereal …
Doubtless songeât-il at these moments of rise and checked excitement; endless moments when it bases - jumper exceptional dashed of the gigantic hand of the redeeming Chris, since the summit of Corcovado …
Become again child and Small awake Prince, Félix is fascinated by the extraordinary show which offers itself for him
Stun : That of a vision quite at the same time wonderful and terrible... the appearance of a gigantic blue mass floating in fathomless nothingness. A celestial body in movement which from now on fills His horizon and its retina, this titanic sphere which seems to call him; this celestial body, its world, our world to which he will dash in a few moments...
Objective... Earth.
At the time of his flight and at the time of a breathless voice, he will have these last words...

"On the last walking, I smelt that the whole world looked at me. I said in the microphone that I would like that everybody can see what I saw. It was incredible "



felix-baumgartner pic
Born to fly...
But also... Born to die, re-knows one of his close relations. Félix Baumgartner, very aware of risks of the operation, had envisaged the worst scenario and had got ready for it. A little bit mystic, the interested had moreover left some comments going to this sense...
"It is probably the last objective which I have to carry out, or in a more mystic register, "GGod has a plan for each of us, me including"".
Parachutist of exception and remote from concerns succitées, Félix Baumgartner concentrates on his mission.
He hoped for a long time for a favorable weather window, which never seemed to want enters to open.



This ultimate attempt will be postponed several times, considering the presence of violent winds.

Félix Baumgartner will have to wait during five endless days, hoping for a bright spell.
Because it is not a kamikaze, this sportsman accomplished and livened up by the passion, will be attentive to verify one thousand times every detail of a for a long time prepared operation, but at risks.

Félix already knows what waits for him; he has already realized two trial jumps during the same year.
At the beginning of the spring, 2012, he succeeded in reaching the 21 818 meter height and at the end of July, he climbed a little higher in heavens, in 29 456 meters, reaching finally the height of the Orbit GEOGRAPHYStill.


Debate …
Certain commentators were able to dispute an established fact: the realization of the operation made possible thanks to the financial assistance of a sponsor considered in the sports business, the Austrian firm RedBull; a firm known to market energy drinks enriched of torrine. Whatever we think of the subject, the aforementioned firm has reconnaitre to make a success of a brilliant media stunt, which would have to should reassure his shareholders. By betting sound goes everything on the capacities of this extreme sportsman, the Austrian firm did not make a mistake.
At least on a point, the detractors of this authentic human adventure and this shared spatial project (*) and for a long time muri, will owe reconnaitre to the interested and to its exploit, a limitedenvironmental
As comparison and in view of the stakes in presence (procedures of rescue for the flights in high heights, in commercial or scientific purposes), the impact "carbonne" attached to the journey EcologistPeopoliséeSeems more debatable. The long rise in the high stratospheric coats of the adventurous parachutist, in the term of an endless ascent aboard its capsule towed by ball filled with helium, a big person Sounding balloonWill certainly have little impacted on the balance sheet "ccarbonne" of the operation. The aforementioned balance sheet "ccarbonne" attached to the holidays in the Maldive Islands of the same French ecologist person in charge, seems more debatable. The inhabitants of this remarkable archipelago of the Indian ocean, with which the existence is eventually threatened by a consecutive rise in the water level, will appreciate


(*) The spatial parachuting and the conquest of the Space
The Hermes project


Free-fall

Without too much hesitation, this parachutist highly skilled in Austrian special forces finally released the banister to which he had firmly hung on; he gave way to the ambient space …
A handle of seconds has hardly just passed by and happy Félix is more than an indécelable, then a sound, a short-lived memory of a recent presence. The parachutist became celestial body, a dust of star diving from now on and hanging of endless minutes at the speed of the sound, quickly reaching the speed of 1.24 Mach.

He will declare a day … "I am not a drug-addict of the adrenalin. I like that everything is planned"".
And to restore life in the tale of Holy Ex...
... "HHe fell slowly as falls a tree, that did not even make noise because of the sand
"
After a landing completed on the dry ground of the Air base of Roswell (New Mexico), Region mainly known since 1947 to have been the theater of a hypothetical destruction of UFO (*), Félix Baumgartner will have difficulty in hiding his emotion and will admit with humility …
"WWhen we are held at the top of the world there, we become so humble... The only thing which we wish, it is to return alive."


(*) the site of crash presumed this UFO is located in fact in 120km of the city itself, near Corona. Nevertheless, the local American base of Roswell took care of investigations and of the recovery of fragments.

Motivations …
What so attracts you in this project?
In the same question which we would have been able to put in the interested, the French parachutist Michel Fournier, who shares the same dream, the same obsession, will answer …
"AAt first, it is the sport, the free-fall. It is a passion, that cannot understand. Then when you put the finger in the gearing of the search, you want to understand. It exceeds the passion, that is well beyond. When we think of Magellan, Youri Gagarine or still Neil Armstrong, were needed people to investigate unknown territories. Today, there are also people who die for it, but it brings something to the humanity which has to move forward
By reading these same words, how not think of a cult retort of a movie of Ridley Scott: the last words of Roy Batty, Fantastic character pulled by disturbing Rudger Hauer in the skin of a "Answering"
I saw so many things that you, human beings, could not believe. Of big ships on fire appearing from the shoulder ofOrion. I saw fabulous beams, Beams CShine in the shade of the door of Tannhäuser. All these moments will get lost in the oversight as the tears in the rain. It's time to die."

It brings something to the humanity which has to move forward and know the limits of the nature ...
Here is maybe the major explanation that certain despondent spirits will decrease gladly in a simple dimension of égo, but which can make vibrate the common run of people.
To remain in the air domain, the pioneers of the aeronautics they were not made by the same wood? The "mowers of marguerite"", these wonderful crazy steering wheels in their funny machines, did not they allow at the risk of their own existence the technological breakthroughs which
The father of "Small Prince" and pilot of exception that he will stay in the collective memory, would undoubtedly have appreciated the exploit in his just measure. Then 44-year-old Saint-Ex disparait mysteriously July 31st, 1944 off Marseille; in a few months near and 68 years earlier, the airman-Ecrivain (...) Would have had the same age that the Austrian parachutist.


Epilogue …
Félix Baumgartner let know that he wished to put an end to his career of extreme parachutist. He thinks of turning to the piloting of helicopter of mountain rescue.
French Michel Fournier, in search of sponsor to there failing, wishes to realize this project for a long time and planned, at the age of 68, to improve the exploit of the Austrian parachutist.
The dream crazy about Michel Fournier

Doubtless we can move forward that these two men, united by the same passion, do not miss a heart, just like the medieval knights.
Doubtless we can hope that these brave hearts will not undergo during their own collection, the end as tragic as that of the Small Prince.
"The Gods are strange. It is not only of our vices that they make weapons to punish us. They lead us to the ruin by what there is in us of kindness, sweetness, humanity, love."
Oscar Wilde, Letters "Of profondis".

Félix Baumgartner's jump
In 5 questions



Objective Earth
...


Free fall



Credits
Images and Videos: Jay Nemeth
Text: Bernard Langlade

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