It sounds like something out of a Fast and Furious or Mission Impossible movie, except it will be attempted for real.
Two solo-flying stunt pilots are going to put their respective aircrafts into a steep free fall, leap out into empty space, and then skydive back into each other’s respective planes. The project is called, appropriately enough, Plane Swap.
The event is a partnership between Red Bull and Hulu and will be streamed live.
“Plane Swap is the natural progression and culmination of my life’s work as a professional, both in the air as a pilot and skydiver and on the ground as an innovator,” said “Red Bull Air Force” member Luke Aikins, who is performing the stunt along with pilot Andy Farrington. “It’s the pinnacle of my career and my goal is to inspire the world and show that anything is possible. You can set your mind on something that at times seems wild, crazy and unattainable, but through ambition and creativity, you can make it happen.”
Aikins and Farrington are cousins and both highly experienced skydivers. For the stunt, they will both pilot Cessna 182 single-seat aircrafts to an elevation of 14,000 feet. The duo will then drop their planes into a synchronized nosedive, aiming the planes straight toward the ground (the planes had to be modified to allow this to happen by “reverse engineering of the autopilot mechanics”). The duo will cut the engines, and a custom-made airbrake will hold the planes in a controlled-descent speed of 140 mph. The pilots will then jump out of their respective aircraft, freefly skydive at each other’s planes, catch up, enter the cockpits, restart the engines, and take control of the planes. At least, that’s the plan.
Aikins has more than 27,000 skydives under his belt and was previously a consultant on Red Bull Stratos event where Felix Baumgartner jumped from a record-setting altitude of 127,852 feet in 2012 and performed the first-ever skydive without a parachute on live TV in 2016. He fell into a very large net.
Plane Swap will air Sunday, April 24, at 7 p.m. ET on Hulu in the U.S. while Red Bull TV will broadcast internationally.