This past Saturday, expert skydiver Luke Aikins became the first person to successfully plummet 25,000 feet from a plane without a parachute. The only devices he carried with him on this terrifying stunt was a camera, a communication device, GPS as well as an oxygen mask which he handed off to one parachuted skydiver somewhere around the 18,000-foot mark. The record-breaking fall lasted only a few minutes with Aikins having landed safely on a 10,000-square-foot net. “I’m almost levitating — it’s incredible, this thing that just happened,” he said. “The words I want to say, I can’t even get out of my mouth.”
The 42-year-old daredevil has been training for this fall for the past two years. Not only has Aikens skydived over 15,000 times in his career, but he was also a skydiving consultant to Felix Baumgartner’s infamoussupersonic freefall back in 2012. Also, in case you’re wondering how he pulled it off, Aikins relied on his highly skilled skydiving maneuvers, GPS as well as the four lights on the net to pinpoint his landing. The net was also meticulously crafted to help decelerate Aikens’ fall as he splashed down on it. According to National Geographic:
The netting itself is constructed from Spectra, a high-density polyethylene cord that is twice as strong as steel, but also completely inelastic. Once Aikins’ plummeting mass strikes the net, four compressed air cylinders, which are connected to the netting via ropes and pulleys, will slow Aikins down down in the same way that you might catch an egg in your hand—by decelerating it gently over a distance.
Watch the incredible stunt above and of course, do not try this yourself.