The man who fell from space, Felix Baumgartner, has revealed how almost a year on from his record-breaking skydive he is enjoying a quiet retirement – as a helicopter pilot.
After he survived the jump from a capsule some 24 miles above the earth’s surface, many wondered where next for the 44-year-old daredevil. His fans were dismayed when he announced that he was quitting the sport, instead looking forward to a new goal of working in mountain rescue.
Now, nearly 12 months and three helicopter licences later, that dream is almost a reality.
Speaking to the Telegraph from New York ahead of the release of Space Dive, a documentary about the Red Bull Stratos record attempt, Mr Baumgartner said: “For me there is no next. I am 44 years old, and physically it’s not getting any easier. Skydiving is over.”
Already a licensed pilot of gas balloons, Mr Baumgartner has also amassed private helicopter licences in Austria and the US, as well as a commercial European helicopter licence.
He says he retired because he didn’t think there were “any challenges left” in professional skydiving. “That’s the reason why I’m working as a commercial helicopter pilot now, because in the future I want to work in mountain rescue.”
The jump last October, streamed live to an online audience of hundreds of millions despite real fears that he could die on camera, made Mr Baumgartner famous around the world.
And while he says he still loves being in the air and doesn’t want to settle down properly for “a few decades” yet, the Austrian doesn’t object to having people coming up to him to congratulate him when he’s back to earth.
“People want to tell me how they felt,” he said. “It motivates me, because I know I did something that matters to the world.”