leapt from an airplane at 25,000 feet (7620 meters) without a parachute and yet still managed to land safely and walk away completely unharmed.
The historic jump took place in the California desert on Saturday evening, which is when years of planning and months of training came together at long last. The very experienced skydiver used all of the skills he gained on more than 18,000 previous jumps to maneuver himself through the air and land on a 10,000 sq. foot net, which caught him perfectly, preventing Aikins from smashing into the ground. At that moment, he became the first person in history to jump from an airplane without a parachute, and land safely.
In the minutes leading up to that dangerous landing, Aikins – along with three other support skydivers who were wearing chutes – jumped from an aircraft and began drifting back to Earth. Luke wore an oxygen mask until he dropped below the 18,000 foot (5486 meter) mark, at which time he proceeded to fall without any kind of additional aid. He had to keep his wits about him at all times, and control his descent as best he could, in order to land on his mark. The net, which is roughly one third of the size of football field, was specifically designed and built to catch him just right, preventing any kind of injury. But, in order to hit it the daredevil had to be very precise in his approach. Fortunately, he was.
Just prior to making the jump it was announced that Aikin had been required to wear a parachute, although he vowed not to open it. It is unclear where this requirement came from, and it flew in the face of the entire plan, casting a brief shadow over the proceedings. Luke had been planning to make this jump sans chute for more than two years, and we even told you about his jump here on The Adventure Blog more than a year ago. But once he was airborne the requirement was reportedly lifted, and he was free to make the jump as he had originally intended.
As already mentioned, Aikin is an incredibly experienced skydiver. In addition to the 18,000+ jumps he's already made, he also is a consultant to the U.S. military, served as a stuntman, and even worked on Felix Baumgartner's record setting jump from the edge of space a few years back. In other words, if anyone had the skills necessary to make this leap, it was Luke and very few other people should even consider it. Hopefully this doesn't start a trend of more people trying to push the envelope in the skydiving department, which could end in tragic accidents.
That said, this is another stunt that I'm eager to see the YouTube video for. Hopefully we'll get something released int he next few days. It will definitely be interesting to watch the entire fall and see how it all unfolded.
Congratulations to Luke on accomplishing this feat. What an amazing, daring, and crazy stunt to pull off.