Skydiver to Jump From 25K Feet With No Chute

Luke Aikins' stunt will be broadcast live on Fox Saturday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2016 7:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – An hour-long live TV special on Fox Saturday will lead up to two holding-your-breath minutes in which a veteran skydiver will leap out of a plane at 25,000 feet (no biggie) without something one usually needs for such a jump (kind of a biggie): a parachute. Per the AP, Luke Aikins won't be wearing a wingsuit, either, when he takes the 120mph plunge just north of LA, landing in a 10,000-square-foot net that's 20 stories high. That's high enough so he won't hit the ground, but also designed so he (hopefully) won't bounce back out. Still, "if I wasn't nervous, I would be stupid," he says. Six months of prepping seem to have gone generally well, the Independent notes, though one test run with a 200-pound dummy didn't end as expected: The dummy crashed right through the net.

The Washington state resident initially turned down the parachute-less idea when it was pitched to him by Hollywood PR man Jimmy Smith and partner Bobby Ware two years ago. "Like any normal, sane person I said, 'Thank you but no thank you. I have a wife and a son and I've got a life to live," he tells People. "Then, two weeks went by and I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking, if somebody said you had to do this, how could it be done?" The 42-year-old definitely has experience under his skydiving harness: He's made more than 18,000 jumps since his first tandem at age 12, has trained other top skydivers (including daredevil Felix Baumgartner), and served as a stuntman for Iron Man 3. The Heaven Sent special will air live with a tape delay on Fox at 8pm EDT Saturday. (An Oklahoma teen survived a 3,500-foot skydiving fall.)

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