The jet stream daredevil
This is an ABC podcast Helena, Tesha Mitchell. He welcome have you ever had one of those oddball dreams way? You find yourself suspending both gravity and reality and you start to live tight and suddenly you flying with the booths. In this episode of sods friction you mating a dead able who does just that. He's gonna try a wild experiment with these own body and he's chasing a world record. I always wanted to a superhero. Chicken. Superheroes. They always. This is Mike has it. And he's grouped by an obsession he wants to fly alone. So in the with Atta plane or Glava and he wants to do it fast. Lied passion for flying wind power has in my childhood. I always wanted to fly like. Convert. What I started skydiving quickly realized, but with my size, my weight, I was all his faults flying forward and in two thousand and twelve I set a first world record three hundred four kilometers per hour in ground speak without anytime. As a next step. I wanted to find out how fast I could fly with a good tailwind and the best option, of course, would be hurricanes, but hurricanes are more or less suicidal. So the second best option was the jets. I'm just not convinced that throwing self into the Jetstream is any safer than throwing yourself into hurricane taking into the sky will be my co pilot fifties episode of science friction ABC documentary maker, lean Gallaher now Leanne is actually politics in real life load. Tash? It has to be said, I'm just a by product. I'm still learning. So you want? Shit show. I just made to think about. Stephen. With the eighty bugging the rod spot. We. What wouldn't you flying? He lied. It's a little military jet called machete. I'm in the back way, the rea- gonna would sit and I've never felt so cool. And so yours us all at the same time. People often get seeking these machines. It's just too fast. She'll like did you vomit swallowed? But let's talk about something else. Can we think Jetstream it's kind of like the planets via belt of the sky? It's what migratory birds and commercial planes us. And it's a high altitude current of air it moves fast at least one hundred kilometers now birds and planes, the Jetstream hitchhikers, but what sort of craziness does it take for a human in this case Mark to consider throwing their body into the jet stream without you know, a big plein wrapped around them t- extreme is very extreme. And the temperature up there will be modest forty degrees celsius. He'll be wearing thermal prediction suit, and he'll have his oxygen. So he's gonna head up in a hot air balloon and then jump out of the basket of hot air balloon into the Jetstream. What just jump out? Oh, well, he will have a parachute. So many weren't open that parachute until he's hit that record. Breaking speed that he's I mean for okay, we're talking about twenty. Four thousand feet above sea level and just to give people a sense of what that looks like. That's just undermanned Everest. Yes. So it's almost but not quite at the point where you can see the curvature of this. What about the balloon pilot as he? Okay. About going up at high in you know, he is. We've recalled balloon pilot balloonist he's been up that high before. And he knows what the limits of the machine and this is rod on the edge right on the limits of what a balloon like this can do. Okay. So you're gonna take us ringside to witness in this episode of science fiction, the whole med trip moment by moment. I'm flying up with another Steve Steve gale, and he's the one with the little jet flight applying the one that we had before. Where in the middle of New South Wales in Cumberland, and the locals comp believe this is happening in their town. It's the not before the big jump, and I wanna know what Marx feeling. It was quite a bit was last minute planning. And I think that's usually how it gets at the end. But the no, you're all ready. Even we can even get of sleep. Yeah. Well, it's about recording. Yes, I'm recording. I'm thinking, maybe two. The main target in the main goal of the mission is to show the untapped clean. Energy potential of the jet stream if you want to attract people for such a such your subject, you have to make a kind of stunt median, I think kind of stunt when you have to jump without wings at all. So you jump into normal suit. Then it could maybe a tracked people to the higher coz. And that's why we're doing it. We've just wanted into the conduct pod. But this point so what's this higher? 'cause Lynn that marks talking about the jet stream being potential source of energy. We'll back in his home in Switzerland. There are a number of start at companies that are doing these. They using the power of the jet stream to produce electricity rods a little bit like how winter vines would work on earth early. This is all happening up Janda. Yes. A bit of both. There's a car that goes up yonder. And then there's a string that comes back down to earth. And that's where the little turbine is. So the thing is tethered up into the jet stream. And that's why people think is not very viable and actually quite dangerous. So it's very very much in the experimental phase. But you know, I actually think mocks higher coz might be something else. Hey. Yes, you are Nova. Early Jonasson miserable. Pint Shane though, I have I have. Yeah. Yeah. Yes. I will open to the otherwise it would hurt. And then I think it will work must work. Okay. So is my leaves the pub to get a good nuts late because it's going to be moderately stuff. You will what do you recommend high was easily? I think it's got to do with human ambition. I think it's got to do with that desire to fly. That's completely crazy away. When deal foot is a pilot in a professional economist, and she designs environments that might people perform at their best. And so she's really interested in aviation. And when I told her the story of Mark Hausa, she told me the story of Harry hawker. Harry Hoke was very famous stating aviator in nineteen fourteen. He figured out that not knowing how to reliably we come from his spinning ally aircraft, and that's cool, spin recovery. It was basically one hundred percent failure rate at that point one hundred percent fatal. So this was June nineteen fourteen is in Brooklyn's in with tabloid biplane flying well about the English countryside. He thinks he's going to get this red hot shot. So basically freezing winds Castrol against the the goggles. It's not great flying conditions. If you can't really see what's going on. But Hayes determined to do this. So he does very slow loop, which he knows is kinda stole the aircraft. And he drops into the gyrations a wing drop a couple of turns. This is basically the beginning of the end for most people, and what Harry does it doesn't work. So. Here is spinning towards the ground. In fact, he flies into the ground. But fortunately this forest between him and the hard part of the ground. So he does actually land up in hospital cut and bruised but alive, but being determined sort of person he is Harry decides that today's site who's can hop into playing again beginning above the English countryside and give it another shot. So this really is the McAfee insanity, but he's pretty determent. So what he does is push the noise down further into the ground. And the last thing you really want to do if you're flying plan in spinning to the ground is basically push push the nose down further into the ground. But it turns out that that was the secret to the recovery. So we all a lot to these brave stray in polit. He put his body on the line to figure out something fundamental is the sort of knowledge that doesn't come any other way. He's doing something utterly contradictory to his own survival instinct, but every. Polit goes through. These Wendy Ilford has self has been there really believed that you can do it. And you have the plane get yourself out to the flying area. You're wrecking your good to guy, but you really not not mentally, but you should be. And this is little doubt Tinsley, but he got along for it because you've actually done that a few times by now you've done lots of practice Stolz in the instructors bay name. So you go ahead and you stole the plane. And then, of course, the next thing is it does go into in incipient spin. And I can remember it stunning. It's fist couple of tunes towards the ground. And I'm thinking this is not a good thing. And then the Knicks Saudis that one hundred percent the only person who can fix that situations. No one else in the plans. It's no instructor. You'll do exactly what somebody other pilots done before. And you'll fly the plane into the ground unless you do exactly what you were trying to do. So funny enough. He's throwing you right writer you push the stick forward. You sent to the frauds again and bring you back on over sudden the horizons up again much to your relief. So I didn't really need to do anymore stores at day. But once you've actually done that you're in a position to blame that you can do it again and did make me feel not invincible, but very much in para myself, and then the rest of it's really not luck. But circumstances. So have you had to do that? Lynn put yourself into a tailspin and then get out of it. I instructor. But I am about to do it on my own and one of his taking risks facing your fear. When you learn how to fly is really important because it helps you with unpredictable situations when you do get the Marcus and really learning how to fly. I mean, he's not learning how to fly an apply and he's learning how to fly in the sky with Atta planes. I can we actually compare him to Harry hocutt eating well is he's like any pilot. He's trying to himself for this moment. He's got specialized equipment he's done his risk assessment. And now he's going for it. Tests of my own oxygen system in a called chamber Switzerland's at Vina's. Six degrees trains in a decompression chamber of the Swiss army to simulate hypoc symptoms, and we made balloon jumps in Switzerland. I it's the morning of the Jumpin condi- Berlin take us. It's doc. It's five I am called and tents where in the local showgrounds the ground crews, helping Mark into his oxygen suit the balloons. They're lying on the ground ready to in a flight and Mark still waiting for a weather report. How you feeling? I can't really talk tomorrow because of his oxygen mask. But he's now in the hot air balloon with the operator stay refund and another skydiver Tom Goldman, they'll take him out to the hot of twenty four thousand feet. This experiment needs very very particular with conditions high spayed winded high altitude and little or no weaned at ground level because the balloon needs to be able to stop when it lands. So if the conditions aren't right. Lynn will they call it all off. Yes. And that's what's making Mark really knows. Still swimmer. Haney? Not not exactly what we were hitting for now. It's a quite the opposite. No inspir- clouds. I think that's where you by ruthless. Right. You're the lucky guy you promised. Make as you can hear wiring up the risks. But it's not black and white. We're talking about shades of gray, you can cut with some things going wrong. But there's always a tipping point in aviation. They call it the Swiss cheese fixed because that's when the holes dot joining up. And that's when there's a disaster. There's nothing citing million. Well, we can go on is what? The information that tells us so. We can't just make up what we want. We're gonna go on what's actually in front of us. But there's a plan. So at least looks like we can get a safe landing the people here who think the experiment should be called off. But Mark and his crew are going to go for it. So I'm waving goodbye to the balloon as it takes off come believe it they going, but how record is will help us listening to what happens next. Yes. Now inside the basket. It's about forty minutes on and they just hitting the jet stream. Trai? One train. Oh, that's three now. But something's going wrong. Have gone out because of lack of oxygen? It seems that the polit lots gone out. Stay in the background trying to read not the pilot light. Make matters was the oxygen supply has started too late. That's killing God. God. Connie out of the basket, I can panic lighter. But now they have to survive and now. Mocks plying. Stretching himself out into a smooth shape making himself as flat as he can. His descent across this dry land. Skype takes him about six Columbus to the next town of folks. And then the moment he lands. He's greeted by unsuspecting farm in a field of shape shit any post. This message a voice message tweets friends. I'll play it for you. I was lending safely, but thin the problem. We had a lot of problems. And I hope they could ignite the fire again dependent went down at the same time where it's problems with the oxygen. I hope Stevens Tom are fine. I do not see them on this guy. But maybe it's too far away for me, see them. I have no idea where they are. So I'm saving ground. Everything's fine for me. But I worry about the balloon guys. And the balloon guys are in trouble. They're facing a rocky ride this still up high struggling with the bonus. The good news as they descend. This has been very tame sling burns comeback on because they is more. So there I k. Down down down. Right. Go. Come back to. Great experience. Oh, man. Two pokes kiss. Relief. So everyone's like high and everyone's landed and when I caught up with Mark this is what he said happened. We had hard time in the bus cut. It was a really really stressful and Steve's just shouted at me leave leave leave our that was was leaving like chicken like a coward and leaving my two friends behind. So it was really it was a nightmare to be honest. The thing is China will record in all these let's not forget these deed, Mark manage to go faster than three hundred and four kilometers per hour, and the Jetstream given that he just sort of had to get out of that balloon with no real sort of com. Planning had to just lay pad. Well, true to the detects a while to figure this out because Mark was carrying six GPS devices and that helps trek speed help track the spate five of them file on what else can go wrong. I only needed one to work though. So we all gathered in a cafe, and we had to hover around power points to charge mobile phones and computers, and we're able to figure out the Spade. There we could crunch the numbers it was too. So you just crudely going through the numbers and say, what did you get the result week was two hundred seventy one five. Clumps horizontal speeds it was good to be in there. And to the first one without wings in jet stream. But the result was not really overwhelming. But very crispy, and that's factoring. The virgin for his to the ground. Do they feel like it was fairly? Well, it's weird. Because Mark went slow in the Jetstream. Then he didn't steal it in still a he went three hundred four kilometers an hour in the Jetstream with seventy five knot tailwind. He went unle- two hundred seventy so even with a towel wind to his advantage. It didn't work what what was going on your again. Well, Wendy, L foods, really interesting on this. When you deal with risk at that level. And you're in fear, you have to be so focused that. You've got outta control of all your faculties full awareness of your operating environment. Situational awareness is key to surviving. These situations at the first level and certainly to perform at your best. I he knew when he jumped out that he wasn't going to be in that state. It's it's highly critical fuel performance that you in control, and he wasn't in control at the time. He left the balloon. But it's still taking risks in the air. And I'm just wondering is this something that can be learned from an experiment like marks. Oh, absolutely. Do believe though that these like a love scientific experiments when you do something. That's really edgy. You do which the knowledge boundary not just for yourself. But for others, the Jetstream, obviously, he's gonna be a big part of our future experience of flat Votaw, and every time we got for flight, you'll hear the PA say, you know, we have begun to pay without altitudes, go faster. Catch the towel wind and max experiment is had you fly fast as human being in the jet stream. That's what he aimed to do. But because when he was forced to jump out. He was so flustered by the circumstances that he lift the balloon in that he didn't actually manage to accomplish what he intended to do which was to fly fast in the jet stream. So I think we'll see him up there again, just like we saw Harry Hokka and despite his crew ending up in a genuinely life and death situation. They do say that do it again, crazy cats. So you you did a phenomenal thing everyone's still one bit. And this possibility of other ventures, right friends. So that's all you on any adventure. You plan to do a future. A bit euless. I don't care what it is. If I can do something of use albeit. Thank you. Thank you very much decorated. Mark was really moved by this offer of support. So the whole adventure didn't go hundred percents according to plan and the question was it worthwhile. It's hard to tell now with everyone is safe in lung piece on the ground. I would say yes, of course. But we were really lucky. Given the much went wrong with his experiment. I mean, the burners went out the oxygen leaked the JPS is collect at it. Really does actually sound like luck head of a lot to do with even the success that they achieved I'm imagining this isn't a day that you're going to get any time saying what an adventure? Absolutely. It was an amazing day. And what struck me about this experiment was that we need people. Like, Mark we need people like Harry hawker because these kind of risk takers do make the world safer for the rest of us, particularly in Egyptian. Yes. But you could just construe Mark being, you know, a classic adrenaline junkie and really not in it for the because he is different from Harry hawker in that regard. But we still need people like that. And we need people like him. I mean, think of what market shaved he's taught us a lot about human psychology and extreme conditions about how he might harness out fears and manage stress in diabolical situations. And everyone involved did get to know more about the Jetstream. So, you know, maybe one day we will be able to harness that power cut Santa that possibility high-grade having you is co pilot on science fiction this way, can you come again. I'll try and good luck with the policy since he can catch leans work over on our sister programs Itihaad and the history listen podcast to subscribe to along with science friction and don't forget science fiction live if you passing through Melvin at the Melba museum, it's part of our events series. Next one November the first it is the future six it will be salacious head to our website to book. And thank you to send engineer, Angie. Grant is on the test Mitchell. Talk to me on Twitter at Natasha Mitchell. See you. Sure. Think about. Eighty. Just a little just wishing. One.