Red Bull’s stunt attempt to be aviation history’s first recorded plane swap proved unsuccessful when one of the planes spun out of control.
Aviation and skydiving enthusiasts had been waiting for April 24, 2022. This was the awaited date for seasoned skydivers and pilots Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington, who are also cousins, to swap planes mid-air in Arizona. Both are part of the Red Bull Air Force aviation crew.
The stunt plan was announced on March 16, 2022, and took 10 years in the making, according to Red Bull. The stunt was streamed exclusively on US streaming service provider Hulu.
Viewers were able to capture and upload the crucial part when Aikins and Farrington jumped out of their respective Cessna 182 planes at 12,100 feet in the air with the aircraft airbrake systems engaged.
Aikins was able to get into the other plane (colored red), while Farrington’s blue plane was seen spiraling upwards as it spun out of control.
Red Bull Plane Swap @canalspace … pic.twitter.com/atJOwERDUK— Carlos O. #AprueboDeSalida(@KarlosOlivarez) April 25, 2022
Aikins told USA Today that the plane losing its center of gravity could have played a role during the nosedive.
“I thought I left Andy a good plane. I’m trying to think of what else I could have done to make it better for him when I left,” Aikins said.
“We do what we can to prepare for this stuff and hope it never happens. This is the best outcome of a bummer situation, really.”
Snapshots of the plane that went out of control can be seen online. It is reported to have crashed, though both pilots are uninjured.
Here’s the blue Cessna 182….they said the parachute worked and plane was upright. This says otherwise. #PlaneSwap pic.twitter.com/Q4SW6LqVmQ— Nate Burrows (@HawkeyeAvGeek) April 25, 2022
According to US media, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it denied a request on April 22, 2022, for the stunt and event organizers to get an exemption from regulations that cover the safe operation of aircraft.
The FAA opened an investigation into the circumstances that led to one of the aircraft crashing.