Leap of faith: Daredevil skydiver to jump from plane without parachute
Luke Aikins will attempt a skydive from 25,000 feet in California this weekend, without wearing a parachute or wingsuit, in a jump that will be shown live on television.
“If I wasn’t nervous I would be stupid,” he said. “We’re talking about jumping without a parachute, and I take that very seriously. It’s not a joke.”
Aikins has 18,000 parachute jumps under his belt. He did his first skydive when he was 12 and was jumping solo by 16. He has trained a number of top skydivers and has worked as a stuntman, but Saturday’s jump will be his greatest yet.
Aikins and his team have spent months designing a net for him to land on. It’s 100 x 100 feet and 20 stories high. “That might seem big from the ground,” Aikins said, “But it’s almost invisible 25,000 feet.”
The net has been fitted with a system of lights to guide Aikins towards his target, which will change colors to let him know if he’s on the right track.
The net has been designed to ensure Aikins lands safely, and doesn't bounce right out, or break the net, as one of the many crash dummies used to test the landing did.
The idea was first suggested to Aikins by two TV producers a few years ago. “We both had a good laugh,” Aikins said, remembering his and his wife’s reaction to the idea. However, the idea stuck in his mind, and, after much research, he’s ready to take the leap.
While other daredevils have attempted jumps without parachutes, they are handed parachutes in the air by other skydivers, or caught in mid jump.