Daredevil skydiver Luke Aikins became the first person to jump 25,000 feet from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story. Luke, a professional skydiver with two decades of experience and more than 18,000 jumps to his credit initially turned down the stunt when someone first suggested it to him. But after giving it some thought, he came up with a way to make it work.
In order to achieve this feat, the 42-year-old Luke had to maneuver his body in free fall utilizing just the air streams around him to arrive securely on the hi-tech 10,000-square-foot net laid out to catch him. After a two-minute free fall, Luke completed the record-breaking stunt by flipping onto his back at the last second and landing on the huge net at the Big Sky movie ranch in Simi Valley, California.
Just before climbing into a plane, Aikins said the Screen Actors Guild required him to wear a parachute but he indicated he wouldn’t open it. However as the plane was climbing to 25,000 feet above the drop zone he took off the chute. Luke says that wearing the parachute would have made the landing more dangerous because he would have its canister on his back when he hit the net at about 120 mph.
Three other skydivers wearing parachutes jumped along with Luke. One of them was carrying a camera, the other one trailed smoke so people on the ground could follow his descent and the third one relived Luke of the oxygen canister after they got to an altitude where it was no longer needed. At 5,000 feet, the trio opened their parachutes leaving Luke alone.