The video shows an astounding feat by Luke Aikins, a 42-year-old American skydiver. Aikins has over 18,000 jumps to his name, and made history here when he became the first person ever to leap from an aircraft without a parachute or wingsuit from a height of 25,000 feet, landing on a net instead.
The footage begins by showing Aikins and some companions inside a small plane. They then proceed to jump out, and remain in free fall for two minutes. The camera pans show a mountainous landscape below – a preview of what would surely have been the skydiver’s fate if things had not gone according to plan.
Aikins is then shown plummeting to the ground at an incredible speed, before he lands dead center of a 100 by 100-foot net at the Big Sky movie ranch on the outskirts of Simi Valley. As the net catches him, the force of the landing is apparent—he had reached a terminal velocity of 120 miles per hour as he fell. The net was made of a strong, high-density polyethylene cord called Spectra, and had four compressed air cylinders that helped slow Aikins down upon impact.
Aikins remains in the net for a few minutes, seemingly catching his breath, before the net is dropped and he climbs out. Cheers can be heard as Aikins hugs his wife, who had been watching from the ground with their four-year-old son.
Luke Aikins is famous for his skydiving stunts – he’s also a BASE jumper, a pilot and an aerial photographer. He has coached US Navy SEALs and Brian Vickers of NASCAR, and has been a consultant for the military on skydiving techniques. He started skydiving at the age of 12, and even worked on stunts in the popular superhero movie, “Iron Man 3.”
The first man ever to intentionally jump without a parachute was Gary Connery, who used a wingsuit to help him in his descent.