Sunday, 22 February 2009

Project Excelsior / Dayvan Cowboy

On August 16, 1960, American Air Force Officer Joseph Kittinger jumped out of a helium balloon from 102,800 feet (31,300 metres). He fell for 4 minutes 36 seconds, reaching a speed of 988 kilometres an hour. During the ascent pressurisation in his right glove failed and his hand swelled to twice its normal size. He set records for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest drogue-fall and fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere - all of which still stand today.

Kittinger went on to serve three combat tours in the Vietnam War, flying a total of 483 missions. On May 11, 1972, he was shot down over Thai Nguyen. He was captured as a Prisoner Of War and tortured.

After the war he made a gas balloon world distance record in 1983 before completing the first solo Atlantic crossing in an AA10 category balloon in 1984. Talk about an over-achiever.

In 2006 director Melissa Olson used actual footage of Kittinger's freefall from space in the filmclip for Scottish duo Boards of Canada's ambient track 'Dayvan Cowboy'. Just beautiful.

With love from BJ 'The Godfather of Chi' Cole.

EC - Style is a Language

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