Kevin Schmidt is a brave man. He does a job that would send most of us to the dresser for a new pair of underwear. He climbs television towers for a living, and not the ones on top of buildings, we're talking about the ones that are out in the middle of nowhere, that stand over 1000 feet in the air.
Schmidt became a viral video sensation last year when footage of him climbing a 1,500 foot freestanding tower near Salem. The video is gut wrenching to watch. Being terrified of heights myself, I tend to think that this man is certifiably insane, but Schmidt loves his job even though he knows most other people think he is crazy.
"Some of my friends can't believe I do it," Schmidt said. "They get scared on top of their house."
When Schmidt climbs these towers, he does so free hand, climbing only with a safety harness and a couple of a safety hooks, it's enough to make any man with a strong constitution poop his pants. The video that was shot by his friend Todd Thorin, a co-worker, and owner of Prairie Aerial.
The video has surpassed 1 million views, but it has earned them the ire of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The footage of Schmidt's 1,500 foot climb is the highest that Thorin has ever taken his drone. But it is not the height of his flight that has the FAA a little upset. Federal law states that there has to be a 500 foot buffer zone between an aircraft and the tower. They also say that any drone that is flown for commercial use must abide by the same rules as normal aircraft. Thorin's drone got up close and personal with the 1,500 foot tower, which upset the FAA, but they still haven't contacted him to discuss it.
Schmidt was happy to have his co-worker along for the ride to film his ascent. "You can finally see what it looks like up there," he said. Schmidt also says that he takes a selfie on every one of his climbs so that he can send it back to his wife. "You can't beat the view, and there's no greater sense of peacefulness than to be 1,500 feet in the air by yourself," he added.
Check out the video for yourself.
Would you be able to make this climb?