Chasing The Jet Stream

Skydiver Marc Hauser's bid to jump where no man has jumped before

Chasing The Jet Stream Marc Hauser is a visionary. Or is he mad? A record-holding skydiver, Hauser has a grand ambition: to become the first man to jump into a hurricane force jet stream at over 8,000 meters. A big risk, but with potentially huge rewards. Hauser wants to show the power of the jet stream as an energy source, which he believes could solve the global energy crisis. As Hauser's preparations take shape, the scale of his challenge becomes clear.

“I have this strong feeling that I'm able to fly like a bird, like a jet, like a human jet,” says Hauser. The Swiss entrepreneur and amateur skydiver gained international recognition in 2012 when he established a horizontal speed tracking record of 304 kilometres per hour. That speed was achieved without a tail wind; with a tail wind, Marc believes he could go even faster. “Now I would like to push the boundaries with the best wind you can get up there, and that’s the jet stream.”

The jet stream is a continuous torrent of wind circling high above the world’s northern and southern hemispheres. It is thought to contain 20 times the energy needed for all of humanity. “I really wonder why we don't use this high-altitude wind power as an energy source,” says Hauser. He finds three start-ups that are developing technologies to tap into this energy source. Michael Perlbreger, the CEO of a company that produces airborne energy generators, hopes to harness the power of the mighty jet stream: “Bring it down to earth so that humankind will benefit from it.”

The dive will be no small feat for this self-proclaimed “super chicken”. While grappling with his fear of heights, Marc must overcome a host of obstacles. An existing knee injury threatens to cause permanent damage if he doesn’t make his parachute landing with mathematical precision and he must undergo hypoxia training to avoid life-threatening altitude sickness. Hanging above everything is the great question mark in the sky: “We can only do what the weather wants,” says air-balloonist Stefan Zeberli.

The stakes are impossibly high, but when launch day arrives nothing goes to plan. On the ground in New South Wales the conditions are perfect but as the balloon begins its ascent into the jet stream the problems begin: the temperature drop causes oxygen to pour from open tanks. The team risk losing all their oxygen before they can complete the flight. Suddenly, without warning, the burners stop working and flame out. It’s now or never: Marc leaps into a hurricane force wind.

With Marc and his team safe and firmly back on the ground, the scope of his achievement becomes apparent. “In the end Marc didn't break his own speed record but he was the first man to jump through the jet stream,” beams engineer and jet pilot Stephen Gale. “That in itself is extraordinary.” Back home in Switzerland Marc reflects on the legacy of his project: “On my side I hope the jetstream adventure will inspire many more pioneers to step into this field of sustainable energy and I'm so glad to be part of this mission.”

Reviews and More

gripping and insightful” – Cockpit: Filmtipp

World record-holding skydiver jumps into a Jet Stream BBC News

Read more on Marc's jump here.

Learn about Marc's motivational speaking engagements here.

LaurelHollywood International Independence Documentary Festival - Best Director
LaurelLondon Independent Film Awards - Best Documentary
LaurelAustralian Inspirational Film Festival - Audience Favourite
LaurelMelbourne Documentary Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelAustralian Inspirational Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelPortugal International Film Festival - Official Selection

The Producers

Claudio von Planta - Director

Claudio is a Swiss freelance documentary filmmaker who started his career in 1985 with reports about the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Occupation. From 1990 Claudio worked on TV news features and longer current affairs programmes for all the main UK broadcasters. In 1996 Claudio filmed a Gwynne Roberts report for Channel 4 Dispatches where they tracked down Bin Laden in Afghanistan. That year, he also filmed Karzan's Brothers for BBC Inside Story, his first Kurdish film with Kae Bahar. Ever since then, Kae and Claudio have continued to produce films about the fate of the Kurds.

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