Surely the number one thing on your packing list before a skydiving trip is “parachute.” Maybe right after that: “extra parachute.” And yet on Saturday (July 30), Luke Aikins packed neither, instead becoming the first skydiver to jump from a plane with nothing except an iron will and an immense faith in net technology.
Calling his stunt “Heaven Sent,” Aikins jumped from 25,000 feet above a ranch in Simi Valley, California, to land on a 10,000-square-foot net. (Everyone has been comparing this to a football field—a third the size of, less than half the size of—but for variety, a Yahoo Answers post suggests it is also roughly the size of a baseball diamond, or two and a half McDonald’s locations.) Like an oversized, neon-clad bird, Aikins used wind currents to adjust his course, and had to flip over at the last minute to land on his back.
Fox aired the jump as part of an hourlong special on Saturday night, during which Aikins said he’d been preparing for two years. He has done 18,000 parachute jumps and various other stunts.
“We did and cannot thank everyone enough for the support,” Aikins wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “My vision was always proper preparation and that if you train right you can make anything happen. Thank you!!!!”