Luke Aikins is the first and only skydiver to jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story. In doing so, Aikins set a world record. Aikins said before his jump, “I’m out here to show that there are ways to do things that people think are insane and aren’t able to be done.”
After two years of training, planning, and preparation, Aikins jumped out of a Cessna airplane at 25,000 feet. With him was a GPS, a communication device, and an oxygen tank. What he didn’t have was a parachute, a wingsuit, or anything else that might help him stop or slow his descent. Aikins had to wear an oxygen mask for the first 10,000 feet of his descent.
To accomplish this feat, Aikins had to direct his body in free fall using only the air currents around him to land safely on the high-tech 10,000-square-foot net (about a third the size of a football field) laid out to catch him.
Aikins fell for about two minutes above the California desert, reached a terminal velocity of 120 miles an hour, appearing to soar effortlessly, arms extended, face downward. And as he neared the ground, with a mere second to go, he expertly flipped onto his back and landed without incident.
He then climbed out of the net and embraced his wife, Monica, who was among a cheering group of family and friends, including their 4-year-old son, Aikins' dad, two brothers and a sister, who'd all anxiously watched the breathtaking spectacle.
Aikins has been skydiving since the age of 16. His grandfather co-founded a skydiving school after serving in World War II, is a third-generation skydiver. The family owns Skydive Kapowsin near Tacoma, Wash.
Prior to his jump, Aikins had previously done 18,000 parachute jumps and performed a variety of stunts, including for Iron Man 3.
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