Would you jump out of an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute on purpose? Extreme skydiver Luke Aikins plans on being the first person to do just that. Since Aikins will not be wearing a parachute, he plans on landing in a net that measures 100 feet by 100 feet. The net will be situated so that it is 200 feet above the ground. Luke’s death-defying skydive will be aired in an hour-long special at 8:00 p.m. EST on Fox.
Besides not wearing a parachute, Aikins will also not be wearing a wing suit. A wing suit would make it much easier for Aikins to direct his body toward the net that he will be landing on. Aikins will have two minutes in the air to direct his body toward the target using nothing but his years of experience to guide him.
— Welk Aviation (@WelkAviation) July 30, 2016
Luke Aikins is an extreme skydiver with vast amounts of experience. Over his 26-year career of jumping out of airplanes, Aikins has successfully completed over 18,000 jumps. What caused Luke to want to be an extreme skydiver? Aikins told Indiewire what it was that triggered his daredevil side.
“When I was little, I saw a picture of Joe Kittinger, who jumped from the edge of space back in 1960. I hope this just sparks imagination and that kids see the science behind it. That science project we all did in eighth grade, I get to do it on a massive scale, with other people helping to make it happen.”
At 42-years-old and a member of the Team Red Bull skydiving team, skydiving may very well be in the blood of the Aikins family. Luke is a third generation skydiver. Luke says he is performing this daredevil stunt in order to step out of the shadow of Team Red Bull.
“I’ve had key roles in history-making events, but for this to be one that I get to do, I’m really excited to show the world a different way to approach something”
One of the history-making events that he has worked on may also be one of the most famous in skydiving history. Aikins was a key member of the crew who worked on the skydiving stunt performed by Felix Baumgartner. Baumgartner became a household name when he became the first person to skydive from the edge of space.
— EDM Live.com (@EDMLive_com) July 23, 2016
This type of stunt takes an enormous amount of calculating and testing. Aikins and his team have been working on this stunt for the last six months. Aikins has performed over 200 test jumps and his crew has also used a test dummy to be able to visualize what will happen when Aikins hits the net on Saturday night. One one occasion, the impact that the test dummy made on the net caused the net to break and the dummy plummeting straight to the ground below it.
One of the more difficult aspects of this stunt will be the landing. In order for Aikins to land on the net safely, he will have to land on his back. This body position is not natural for a person jumping out of a plane. Aikins has been practicing flipping over to his back in mid-air at an indoor skydiving wind tunnel.
If all goes according to plan, Aikins will still fall short of the record for longest fall without a parachute. In 1972, Vesna Vulovic was working as a stewardess for a Yugoslavian airline when tragedy struck. The plane that Vulovic was in broke into pieces while at 33,000 feet. Vulovic fell to the ground without a parachute and survived.
Due to the risk of severe injury and death, the Luke Aikins stunt will be shown on a slight delay.
[Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP Images, File]