Your DVD “Best of Felix Baumgartner” is preceded by a quote: “Stop worrying about death, it’s like worrying about sunrise.” What does that mean for you?
Every one of us has to die at some point, so there’s no point living in fear of it. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done when you’re waiting for three hours at a cave in Oman for the ideal conditions to make the jump – and thinking about the twelve B.A.S.E. Jump colleagues who died last year; or that the nearest hospital is five driving hours away.
What hazards have made the jump in the “Seating of the Spirits” cave so dangerous – aside from the evil spirits that apparently haunt it?
The nightmare of every B.A.S.E. jumper is that the chute will get twisted while opening. Then you collide with the object and crash, because with such a short fall you have no time to react. In a cave this risk is even greater, because you are surrounded on all sides by the obstacle with which you could collide ...
... and which isn’t even visible.
I was falling at 112 mph, could hardly recognize anything, but was only allowed to pull the release cord after the fall through the bottleneck opening of the cave. That’s why I had a Walkman with me to time the countdown.
"I experience incredible fear – but I can control it and overcome it."
And those few seconds of freefall give you a feeling of exhilaration that compensates for all the dangers?
No. I’ve never enjoyed one of my extreme projects. On the contrary, I experience incredible fear – but I can control it and overcome it. Fear is my friend, it reminds me to be cautious and prevents me from doing anything rash.
But then why do you put your life at risk?
Every project that succeeds confirms to me that I can achieve anything that I set out to do. This feeling gives me incredible self-confidence. Even if I know that each jump could be my last.
For which another one of your quotes is appropriate: “Happy those people who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price.” What future projects are you dreaming of at the moment?
The day before Christmas I got my helicopter license, which was an old childhood dream of mine. Now I’m going to give myself three, four years’ time to become a really excellent flyer, because I want to spend the second half of my life as a professional pilot.