The drawing that proves daredevil Felix was born to fly

It is the prophetic picture that proves Felix Baumgartner was born to reach for the stars.

The Austrian yesterday became the world’s first supersonic skydiver, shattering the sound barrier after leaping from a capsule 38km above earth.

Yet this picture, drawn back in 1975 when he was just five years old, show he also had flight on his mind.

In the caption, he wrote: “Back in 1974 when I was 5 years old I drew this picture and gave it to my mum.

“When I did my first skydive on 23rd of August 1986 my mum handed it back to me and there it is. It is kinda interesting where your thought and vision is gonna take you.”

The jump was part scientific wonder, part reality show, with the live-streamed event capturing the world's attention on a sleepy Sunday. It proved, once again, the power of the internet in a world where news travels as fast as Twitter.

The 43-year-old Baumgartner hit Mach 1.24, or 1341.97km/h, according to preliminary data, and became the first person to go faster than the speed of sound without travelling in a jet or a spacecraft. The capsule he jumped from reached an altitude of 39,044 metres, carried by a 55-storey, ultra-thin helium balloon.

Landing on his feet in the desert, the man known as "Fearless Felix" lifted his arms in victory to the cheers of friends and spectators. His mother, Eva Baumgartner, cried.

"Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are," an exuberant Baumgartner told reporters.

About half of Baumgartner's descent was a free fall of 36,529m, according to Brian Utley, a jump observer from the FAI, an international group that works to determine and maintain the integrity of aviation records.

During the first part of Baumgartner's free fall, he spun uncontrollably. He said he felt pressure building in his head but did not feel as though he was close to passing out.

"When I was spinning first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life, but I was disappointed because I'm going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this," he said.

He added: "In that situation, when you spin around, it's like hell and you don't know if you can get out of that spin or not. Of course it was terrifying. I was fighting all the way down because I knew that there must be a moment where I can handle it."

Baumgartner said travelling faster than sound is "hard to describe because you don't feel it." The pressurised suit prevented him from feeling the rushing air or even the loud noise he made when breaking the sound barrier.

With no reference points, "you don't know how fast you travel," he said.

Baumgartner's accomplishment came on the 65th anniversary of the day US test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first man to officially break the sound barrier in a jet. Yeager commemorated that feat on Sunday, flying in the back seat of an F-15 Eagle as it broke the sound barrier at more than 9,144m above California's Mojave Desert.

Baumgartner's team included Joe Kittinger, who first tried to break the sound barrier from 31km up in 1960, reaching speeds of 988km/h. With Kittinger inside mission control, the two men could be heard going over technical details during the ascension.

"Our guardian angel will take care of you," Kittinger radioed to Baumgartner.

On Twitter, half the worldwide trending topics had something to do with the jump.

This attempt marked the end of a long road for Baumgartner, a record-setting high-altitude jumper. He has said this was his final jump.

The sponsor, beverage maker Red Bull, has never said how much the complex project cost.

Baumgartner failed to break Kittinger's record for the longest free fall, at 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Baumgartner's free fall was timed at 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

Baumgartner has said he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and fly helicopters on mountain rescue and firefighting missions in the US and Austria.

Before that, though, he said: "I'll go back to LA to chill out for a few days."

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