TODAY | October 15, 2012
>> hager covered aviation for 35 years as an nbc correspondent. he was in mission control providing commentary on felix baumgartner 's historic jump. good morning to you.
>> good morning, matt.
>> you've seen a lot of aviation milestones, both good and bad. what was it like to watch this?
>> oh, i think it was kind of thrilling. it was scary when he was coming down, too, but it was just thrilling to be a part of the whole thing are and that's why i did it. it was a lot of fun. just wonderful when he broke those records, and as tom costello said, i think there is something to be gained from this. i mean, some things to be learned about it.
>> i was amazed that he was able to talk during portions of this free fall and even while he was spinning. i don't think you'd want to hear what i would have been saying during that spinning portion, but, i mean, it really was incredible that he was able to communicate during this.
>> sure. well, i mean, they had been testing equipment. all those cameras spread all over the capsule itself when he's floating up, and then he's loaded with gear for the trip down, too, and there will be more of that, too, shown in a documentary that they are making to show later, but the communications were great. he's not a big talker . the other guy, kitinger who set the record some years ago very colorful and loaded with quote. felix is more business.
>> going back to that spin, was that something that anyone in mission control had predicted or expected? because when we talk about the fact that had his suit torn he would have died instantly. i think a spin can't be a good thing in that area.
>> no, a spin is a very dangerous thing, and they worked very hard to try to avoid that, but, you know, nobody's had experience up above 100,000 feet. there are no nasa suits, by the way, certified to jump from more than 100,000 feet so that's why this is good for the future so, yeah, they worked very hard on a technique that would try to avoid that spin. when he went into it, that was a frightening moment, and i stepped back and didn't say anything and waited to see what was going to happen, and he, fortunately, was okay, and he was frightened, too, he said.
>> covering aviation has been a major part of your life. is this an event the rest of us are going to be talking about? are we going to say, hey, we know where we were when this guy accomplished this?
>> well, i don't know. i mean, not like neil armstrong walk on the moon or something like this, but this -- this is a very important milestone when chuck yaeger broke the sound barrier in a plane, actually, what was that, about 50 years ago, anyway, 1947 , so not that long ago, but we do remember that. not as part of our everyday life , but i think we'll remember this as an important milestone, yeah.
>> by the way, i think chuck yaeger , the anniversary, 65 years ago yesterday, so felix baumgartner .
>> thanks for fixing up my math.
>> not a problem. 65 years. bob hager, always good to see you, bob. thanks very much.
>> okay, matt. nice to talk to you.