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This past Sunday, Felix Baumgartner added his name to a list of elite daredevils such as Harry Houdini, Chuck Yeagar, the Knieval family, Yves Rossy and Nik Wallenda. He accomplished this by taking a hot air balloon approximately 128,000 feet (24 miles) up and then jumped out becoming the first person to successfully break the sound barrier outside a vehicle.

Similarities of Daredevil Events

So I started thinking (yes, I know this is dangerous) about what all these daredevils have in common. Some of the answers were obvious such as self-confidence, a desire to live on the edge, a need to be different and difficulty in getting cheap Life Insurance.
At the same time, I also realized that what may look like simple or reckless stunts to some are actually carefully orchestrated events. As technology has progressed so has the difficulty of staging the events. For example: Baumgartner’s jump from space included a space age flight suit, a pressurized capsule, state-of-the-art communications and more than 35 cameras.

The Jump from Space

Although not every event will use this much technology or be as complicated, each daredevil’s life depends on the maintenanceand care of their physical assets. From the tight wire across Niagara Falls to ensuring the performance of a stunt motorcycle, equipment has to be in perfect working order for records to fall.

Inspections Inspections Inspections

Common sense dictates that equipment undergoes inspections not only once but several times before an event. After all, one missed problem is most likely fatal. Since death is permanent, inspections must be highly detailed and be able to verify that equipment is operating at optimal levels.

The Technology moreover Work Behind the Jump

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use an inspections checklist. These checklists can be a simple spreadsheet on a clipboard, part of a maintenance software program or a function of sophisticated electronic monitoring systems.

It doesn’t matter how the inspections are performed as long as assets are operating as they should be. When a life is on the line there is no room for error.

Yes, breaking the sound barrier was extremely noteworthy but all the guts in the world won’t help you if your equipment is not maintained properly. So we tip our hat to Mr. Baumgartner and the rest of the world’s successful daredevils as we look forward to the next event that pushes the limits of bravado and technology.