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Companion piece to the Joe Kittinger article on www.eaa.org

Posted By:
Zack Baughman
#1 Posted: 8/19/2010 16:45:35

Noticed an article on www.eaa.org about the 50th anniversary of Joe Kittinger's record setting parachute jump from 102,800 feet in 1960: http://www.eaa.org/news/2010/2010-08-19_kittinger.asp

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Joe for the Timeless Voices program in 2008, and thought some of you might be interested in Joe's story:




EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Adam Smith
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
#2 Posted: 8/19/2010 22:37:08

What a thoroughly likeable chap! 

John Craparo
#3 Posted: 9/5/2010 01:22:02

On August 2, 2010 he was inducted into the National Ballooning Hall of Fame in Indianola Iowa. He asked me to make his introduction speech, which I was very proud to do!  A more deserving guy of good fortune has yet to be born.

His second autobiography was published in July. Come Up and Get Me was co-authored by Craig Ryan with an introduction by Neil Armstrong.  The book gives you insight into the man as he concentrates on his years as a young officer and decisions he had to make about people and himself.  It focuses a lens on the man as a combat pilot in Vietnam (438 missions) and a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.  His triumph as the first man to fly a balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean is covered in exciting detail.  His Balloon of Peace and its trans-oceanic mission were conceived during his captivity as a POW.  Of course his Long Lonely Leap from space is covered.  Barnstorming, hunting, racing speedboats and spending time with his brother and parents plying the St. John's river in Florida come to life as he reminisces about what this has all meant during his 82 years.

He is an active man, lauded three weeks ago by President George H. W. Bush as he was inducted into the US National Skydiving Hall of Fame. 

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in aviation or aerostation.  With all his successes and failures, Joe will be the first to tell you that he is the luckiest man in the sky.





John Craparo Georgetown, TX
Greg Long
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 9/6/2010 03:05:52


First heard about Kittenger in the 1999 6-part BBC/A&E series The Planets  ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283775  )  Amazing stuff.  The story featured him performing in his bipe when introducing him.

I loved the way he explained how he stepped of the porch of the gondola and felt weightless, but wasn't moving.  He then looked up and saw the gondola darting straight up at an incredible rate.

Of course, the reality was Kittenger was free-falling and the gondola was sitting essentially still.  He would have initially barely felt any airflow over himself until he reached a significant true airspeed, roughly ten times his indicated airspeed (dunno if he had an ASI without more research.)

In the last year I ended up learning a bit about high-altitude flying myself through hobby-experimenting with X-Plane's simulated Mars environment ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJuD1wBJfjw  ) Although a videogame, it does take into account density altitude.  Nowadays, as is well known, there's a number of  pilots on duty for the armed forces and civilian research projects seated relatively cozy somewhere near 0' AGL at a remarkably consistent 1G, flying UAV's, some of which operate at 60,000' AGL or higher.

Mars is about the equivalent of 80,000' MSL to 120,000'  MSL or more Earth-density-altitude, from what I understand.  (one source that addresses its lapse rate is http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/atmosmre.html  )

"Sea-Level", so-to-speak,  is around 0.27 inHG at 0' MML (Mars-Mean-Level).  The floor of Valles Marineris is about -15,000' MML to -10,000' MML per the MOLA team at Goddard from the Pathfinder/MGS mission that returned digital-elevation-model data in the late 90's. I corresponded briefly with Gregory Neumann of the team a few years back.  The Coronae low area in the southern hemisphere has the thickest air, around -24,000' MML.

Kittenger paved the way for many.



Greg Long - EAA #412965 + Ch 105 member




Greg Long Social Media Editor / Network Administrator ExploreMars.org Twitter: @exploremars http://facebook.com/exploremarsdotorg http://youtube.com/exploremarsinc