May 27 2008Epic Failure: Skydiving Record Attempt


Well folks, I miraculously survived three days of trying to kill myself with the drink (one more miracle and I'm eligible for sainthood). So here I am -- unrested, unshaven, generally unkempt, and ready to post. I hope you all had a good holiday weekend, it's great to see all your bright and shining faces this morning -- I missed you.

So on Sunday 64-year old Michael Fournier was set to break several world records and provide valuable data on what sort of impact damage a dead body can do to the earth with a skydiving jump from 40,000 meters (~25 miles).

Mr. Fournier was hoping to break the record for the fastest and longest free fall, the highest parachute jump and the highest balloon flight. He was planning to jump from a point three-times higher than a commercial jetliner flies. Mr Fournier was to wear a pressurized suit to protect him from the extreme low pressure and temperatures down to -100C. Sophisticated camera equipment was supposed to record key moments of the jump, particularly when he broke the sound barrier at 35,000m.

That's right folks, that crazy mother was gonna reach speeds around 1,000 MPH and break the damn sound barrier! That's one tough grandpa. Mine doesn't do shit but drink gin and sit on the porch carving wooden vaginas. So why didn't he end up making the jump? Was it the weather, a fear of death, or a problem with the pressurized suit? Nope, they forgot to properly attach the freaking balloon to his capsule.

...his helium balloon detached from its capsule as it was being inflated, and drifted away into the sky.

God that's freaking pathetic. Now I've gotten high and tried to beat world records before (namely the number of deviled eggs eaten in two minutes), but never have I failed as epically as that (unless projectile vomiting deviled eggs counts, which it doesn't). So what can we all learn from this? That Fournier's loose balloon (lower right) looks like a giant floating prophylactic. And I think we can all agree that's a valuable life lesson.

Jump record fails to take flight [bbcnews]

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Reader Comments

Big deal - I'm about to make a jump from 50,000 meters. Without a pansy pressurized suit! HA!

whoops, my balloon got away. oh well, at least I broke the record for pretending to break records from ridiculous heights.

It would have been better if they remembered to attach the balloon, but forgot to attach the parachute.

Ha. Damage to earth.

My dad forgot to attach his balloon once, which also led to an epic failure. He named him Redd.

dang, he didn't make it??
one of the very few times my home province makes the news and it's a failure :(

Joe Kittinger did this in 1959!!!

He jumped from space like 40 years ago

On November 16, 1959, Kittinger piloted Excelsior I to 76,000 feet (23,165 meters) and returned to Earth by jumping, free falling, and parachuting to the desert floor in New Mexico. The jump almost cost him his life. His small parachute, which served to stabilize him and prevent him from going into a fatal "flat spin," opened after only two seconds of free fall instead of 16, catching Kittinger around the neck and causing him to spiral uncontrollably. Soon he lost consciousness, as he tumbled toward Earth at 120 revolutions per minute. Only his emergency parachute, which opened automatically at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), slowed his descent and saved his life.

WTF... you can't skydive at 1000 mph. The terminal velocity for free-falling human is like 120 mph.

a terminal velocity of 120 mph is based on a person laying spread-eagle. if you nose-dive, you can achieve faster speeds. and Kittinger was so high up, there was little to no air resistance, so he was able to fall much faster, being in a vacuum. and the speed of sound of 770 mph is at sea level - it's less up high. apparently, Kittinger broke the sound barrier doing 714 mph.

Poor guy, he spent something of around 20 million pounds on the project

its such a waste of money -nearly as much of a waste as these american presidential candidates.Richard Branson has also wasted a lot of money on balloons but is going to space anyway

its such a waste of money -nearly as much of a waste as these american presidential candidates.Richard Branson has also wasted a lot of money on balloons but is going to space anyway


check out the dayvan cowboy music video, thats joe kittinger in the beginning rippin shit up.

its impossible for him to go over 190 mph unless he was accelerated 17mph is the terminal velocity of a human in free fall

terminal velocity for a human in free fall is ~120mph and it may hold true that a nosedive w/ slender figure may help to achieve higher speeds, I still doubt the terminal speed for that is several hundred mph.. It is true the higher altitude you travel, the less air resistance and therefore, speed of sound can be achieved a lot easier.. but I'd imagine a human, in free flight, would crush himself upon reaching the sound barrier... much like hitting a wall while travelling at high speeds.. After all, the moment before you break the sound barrier, you've gathered and compacted quite a significant amount of matter infront of you. This is what causes the cloud shockwave effect of a "sonic boom" and also the contributing factor to soo many supersonic attempts in the early ages of flight.

Thanks for the information.

What altitude did you jump from?
How long were you falling?
Will you be putting together another one of these any time soon?

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