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Died – Demise – Obituary : Joseph Kittinger dies at 94; former army officer set document for parachute bounce



Died – Demise – Obituary

Joseph Kittinger dies at 94; former army officer set document for parachute bounce

By Terry Spencer | Related Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Retired Air Power Col. Joseph Kittinger, whose 1960 parachute bounce from virtually 20 miles above the Earth stood as a world document for greater than 50 years, died Friday in Florida. He was 94.

His demise was introduced by former U.S. Rep. John Mica and different pals. The trigger was lung most cancers.

Kittinger, then an Air Power captain and pilot, gained worldwide fame when he accomplished three jumps over 10 months from a gondola that was hoisted into the stratosphere by giant helium balloons. Challenge Excelsior was aimed toward serving to design ejection methods for army pilots flying high-altitude missions.

Sporting a stress go well with and 60 kilos of kit, Kittinger virtually died through the challenge’s first bounce in November 1959 when his gear malfunctioned after he jumped from 14.5 miles. He misplaced consciousness as he went right into a spin that was 22 instances the pressure of gravity. He was saved when his automated chute opened.

4 weeks later, Kittinger made his second bounce from simply over 14 miles above the floor. This time, there have been no issues.

Kittinger’s document bounce got here Aug. 16, 1960, within the New Mexico desert. His stress go well with malfunctioned as he rose, failing to seal off his proper hand, which swelled to twice regular measurement earlier than he jumped from 102,800 toes — greater than 19 miles above the floor.

Free falling within the skinny ambiance, the Tampa native exceeded 600 mph earlier than the regularly thickening air slowed his fall to about 150 mph when his parachute deployed at 18,000 toes.

“There’s no manner you may visualize the velocity,” Kittinger advised Florida Pattern journal in 2011. “There’s nothing you may see to see how briskly you’re going. You don’t have any depth notion. If you happen to’re in a automotive driving down the highway and also you shut your eyes, you don’t have any thought what your velocity is. It’s the identical factor for those who’re free falling from area. There are not any signposts. You realize you’re going very quick, however you don’t really feel it. You don’t have a 614-mph wind blowing on you. I may solely hear myself respiration within the helmet.”

His document stood till 2012, when Austrian Felix Baumgartner jumped from 24 miles above the New Mexico desert, reaching the supersonic velocity of 844 mph. Kittinger served as an adviser.

Joseph Kittinger dies at 94; former army officer set document for parachute bounce

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