Flight Plan

First-ever gravity-defying plane swap set for April 24

BL Internet Desk | Updated on: Apr 17, 2022

Two pilots will swap planes mid-air

On April 24, Luke Aikins and his cousin Andy Farrington will attempt something one can only conjure up, that of swapping planes mid-air. On that day, both known for their skydiving skills will solo pilot their respective aircraft, jump out of them, fly into each other's planes, and get into the cockpit to fly away.

The never-before kind of attempt will see a solo-piloted aircraft take off with one pilot and land with another somewhere in Arizona, US. Writing for Redbull.com, Jorge Martin said skydivers Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington, who are members of the Red Bull Air Force, will take to the skies for a physics-defying feat ten years in the making. Aikins and Farrington will pilot their aircraft to 14,000 ft, put them into a vertical dive, jump out mid-air (leaving them unmanned) and attempt to switch planes.

The website quoting them said they would use their hand movements or head bobs to signal each other whether they require help or go in a different direction mid-freefall. "What's exciting about this feat is how they challenge the laws of gravity to suit them to make this unprecedented stunt a reality," Martin wrote. Both Red Bull and Hulu are partners of this event, which will be telecast live.

Aikins is the third generation of pilots and skydivers, while Farrington is an expert in wingsuit flying. Both received their pilots' licences along with their driver's licences.

Dr Paulo Iscold, a professor of aerospace engineering, has worked on this project for an entire year to pull this 40-second plane swap stunt in the air. The planes, both Cessna 182 aircraft, will continue to fly in controlled formation and much slower toward the ground and work in tandem with the speed brake. For the nosedive to happen, the autopilot had to be customised. Iscold along with Leo Torres, his colleague, worked on the development of the automated system.

Complicated, isn't it? We will get to know how both the pilots pull this gravity-defying stunt next Sunday. (Source: redbull.com).

Published on April 17, 2022
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