The trustees of the Flight Test Historical Foundation (FTHF) presented the 4th Annual Excellence In Aviation (EIA) Awards on May 18th, 2013, at the Proud Bird Restaurant and Convention Center, located just outside the Los Angeles International airport. The night was an exciting evening filled with outstanding honorees, awards dinner, silent auction and panel discussion. The honorees were Felix Baumgartner (Team Pilot), Art Thompson (Technical Project Director), Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF-retired (member of the Aviation Hall of Fame, prior altitude and free-fall jump record holder, and Team Project Flight Operations and Safety) and the Red Bull Stratos Team for the Team’s historic mission to the edge of space and supersonic free fall.
Felix Baumgartner, Team Pilot, became the first person to shatter the sound barrier in the death-defying leap from the edge of space on October 14, 2012, wearing only a jumpsuit and packing a parachute. His leap was watched live by millions around the world on the internet.
The Red Bull Stratos jump occurred exactly 60 years to the day from the first attempt to break the sound barrier. On October 14th, 1947, General Robert “Bob” Cardenas, officer in charge of operations, launched Captain Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1 to break the sound barrier for the first time. General Cardenas was a special guest presenter at the EIA ceremony and dinner, and also participated in the panel discussion.