Fred North is a helicopter pilot responsible for aerial shots in movies such as The Bourne Legacy, Man of Steel, Total Recall and The Expendables. He recently achieved a record breaking altitude of 42,500 feet in a helicopter, beating the previous record set by Jean Boulet over 30 years earlier.
North modified a B2 Squirrel helicopter, removing unnecessary instrumentation and interior equipment to save weight. The B2 Squirrel is powerful and durable, and is often used for search and rescue in inaccessible mountain areas.
As helicopters are not designed for high altitudes, North's challenge was planned very carefully. The B2 Squirrel was only able to operate at 25% of its power, as there wasn't much air for the helicopter's rotors to bite into. North had to wear oxygen equipment and a thorax compression jacket to ensure his safety.
Despite some problems with the pressure regulator on North's flight suit, he was able to successfully break the record - but said "I will never do it again."
North wore a Fortis watch
throughout the challenge. The B-42 Pilot Professional Chronograph has a 42 mm stainless steel case, and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. It has a black dial with SuperLumiNova coating on the white numbers and indices, for visibility in the dark.
A tachymeter scale is found on the flange for measuring speed in conjunction with the chronograph. A 12-hour counter is positioned at 6 o'clock, a 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock, and a continuous-seconds counter at 9 o'clock. The watch is powered by the Valjoux 7750, and blue engravings on the rotor can be seen through an exhibition case back.