Official Observer Offers Insight into Felix Baumgartner's Record-Breaking Jump

Posted at: 09/12/2013 11:42 PM
Updated at: 09/12/2013 11:47 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- You might find it hard to forget when Felix Baumgartner parachuted to Earth from the edge of space, breaking the world free fall record and the speed of sound at the same time. Today the man who certified that jump spoke in Rochester, he says lots of work went into making it a valid world record.

"This particular record was a very challenging one that had not been performed before, this was a quantum leap," said Brian Utley, Official Observer for the National Aeronautic Association.

When sky diver Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space, he experienced 4 minutes and 20 seconds of free-fall before opening his chute. But it took three and a half years to make it an official world record.

"Because of the altitude and speeds involved it required establishing new technologies for measurement and validation.

Brian Utley is the Official Observer for the National Aeronautic Association. He was in Rochester Thursday, speaking about his world record experiences, but says certifying a jump from space was something unique.

"We had to select instrumentation, GPS devices, review and validation processes to be sure that the data that was submitted for record purposes was valid,” said Utley.

The validating information came from a chest pack, with transmitters and cameras, that was strapped onto Felix’s body during the jump.

"It's under my observation. I have to be there, to pick up that chest pack so I can certify the record,” said Utley.

Because without a witness like Brian Utley, there can't be record breaking moment like this.

Brian certifies several world records in aviation each year. He was also the Official Observer for Steve Fossett's record breaking flight around the world.