Pilots, skydivers, and cousins Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington will attempt something rather unique on Sunday, April 24: swapping planes in mid-flight. The performance, which is sponsored by Redbull and will be shown live on Hulu, has taken 10 years to prepare. Both Aikins and Farrington will fly their planes to a height of roughly 4.3 kilometers (14,000 feet). They’ll put the plane into a vertical dive at that moment. They’ll then leave their planes unmanned, leap out, and try to go to the other plane, where they’ll be able to slip behind the controls and safely land the planes.
“I’m on one plane, he’s on the other, and there’s no one else.” “We’ll put the planes in a dive, straight at the earth, and then I’ll get out of my plane, he’ll get out of his plane, and we’ll exchange planes mid-flight,” Aikins told CNN. “I’ll jump into his, and he’ll skydive into mine; I’ll bring his plane back to land, and he’ll bring mine.” It appears easy when explained in this manner, but there was a lot of exciting engineering to be addressed before that could happen. Otherwise, the planes’ wings would be torn off if they didn’t slow down before and during the descent.
Even if the idea is basic, skydivers find it relatively easy to get out of one plane — but flying into a falling one may not be. Next month, there will be something wonderful to look forward to. Even the most ordinary-sounding statements may foreshadow something extraordinary: “Okay, are you sure your seatbelt is fastened? Let’s get started, “From the pilot’s seat of his Cessna 182, skydiver Luke Aikins beams. “Brake is about to be applied. Turn off the power. The autopilot has been activated.”
The plane slows abruptly, then pitches down, steeper, steeper, steeper still, until settling into the most abysmal of dives, pointing directly for the water below. The door of the tiny Cessna has been removed to our left. As the Pacific shore draws closer into view, the wind howls past. Aikins chuckles as he counts down the altimeter without touching the yoke. “It’s taking care of everything on its own! Recovery at 7,000 feet, 6,000 feet, and 5,000 feet” The Cessna’s engine starts up again, and the aircraft returns to a horizontal position.
CNN Sport is soaring high over San Luis Obispo, California, with world-famous skydiver Luke Aikins. Aikins, who has completed more than 21,000 jumps, has worked as a stuntman and consultant on Hollywood blockbusters as well as training US Navy SEALs. He recently gave CNN a sneak peek at one of the essential elements of a stunt he and his cousin Andy Farrington are planning on April 24. The Red Bull Plane Swap, which will be streamed live on Hulu, will be one of the most daring skydiving exploits ever performed.