Luke Aikins – no parachute jump
What is there to say about someone who sets aviation history?
There are many big records being broken regularly in aviation. But all of them are doing the same thing, but slightly longer, slightly further, slightly higher or slightly faster. Generally slightly better than the person who went before them.
Luke doesn’t have that problem. He did something for the first time. He left a motorised aircraft without a parachute and landed successfully.
I watched from the bar at the dropzone. There were about 30 of us sat watching the big screen at 2am UK time. Several skydivers had gone to bed early because they didn’t want to watch someone get it wrong. They didn’t want to watch a woman lose her husband. They didn’t want to watch two kids lose their dad.
When he landed in the net, a huge cheer erupted in the bar. Goosebumps. Yes!
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Gary Connery before. He was the first person to leave a motorised aircraft and intentionally and successfully land without using a parachute. He did wear a parachute but he didn’t use it.
Gary used a wingsuit to slow his descent. And cardboard boxes to cushion his fall. As well as being a skydiver and a base jumper he’s a movie stunt man.
He knew he could fall from tall buildings into cardboard and be ok. He also knew that he could fall slower in a wingsuit than when he jumped from tall buildings into cardboard. Therefore, with good aim and enough boxes he should be alright.
In May 2012, he proved himself right. And he proved many many people wrong.
I had the opportunity to be there. I helped build the box rig. I watched in fear and then in suspense as he disappeared into this great pile of boxes, then an explosion of joy when he emerged unscathed.
I’m such a Gary fanboy. While he was being interviewed by television and spraying champagne. I was climbing into the hole he’d made for a souvenir photo. I then decided that I wanted to find the first box he touched so I traced his trail to the start.
Carefully dismantling the boxes at the bottom of this 20 foot high stack. All the time keeping an eye on THE ONE. I was able to catch it as it fell. I have that box in a frame on my wall at home. My piece of aviation history. The first part of the earth that he touched when he made aviation history. In my flat. Over my sofa. I’m such a Gary fanboy.
Luke took Gary’s achievement one step further. He left a motorised aircraft but wasn’t wearing a parachute.
I wasn’t able to be in Southern California for this. I wasn’t able to help with the setup or the tear down. But friends of mine were there watching. You can see a video my friend filmed where Luke lands and then kicks with excitement. Yes!
I have so many questions to ask Luke. I’m due to be interviewing him early next week. Watch this space.
PS I really hope I can get a piece of the net. I’m such a Luke fanboy.