Luke Aikins is a husband, father and third generation skydiver who will be jumping out of an airplane Saturday with no gear — no parachute or wingsuit — nothing but the clothes on his back, into a giant net. The jump, Stride Gum Presents: Heaven Sent, will air on Fox at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
Aikins is a professional skydiver, member of the Red Bull Air Force and did stunt work in Ironman 3. Now he’s jumping from 25,000 feet into a 100-by-100-foot net, suspended 200 feet off the ground, with the world watching.
The 42-year-old Graham, Wash., resident has 18,000 jumps under his belt.
“Whenever people attempt to push the limits of what’s considered humanly possible, they’re invariably described as crazy,” Aikins told Q13 Fox. “But to me, this jump is simply the next logical step in a lifetime of extreme challenges.”
Here is what you need to know about Aikins:
1. Aikins Could Be The First Person to Land On the Ground by Net
What Aikins is attempting to do has never been done before. There have been other parachute-free jumpers, but they haven’t landed on a net.
When he was approached with the idea, Aikins first said ‘no thank you,’ he told People magazine.
“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,'” Aikins said. “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?”
But he agreed, and now, after months of research and testing, he’s aware of the reality.
“If I wasn’t nervous I would be stupid,” Aikins told the Guardian. “We’re talking about jumping without a parachute, and I take that very seriously. It’s not a joke,” he adds.
2. The 60-Minute Show Will Feature a Behind-the-Scenes Look<</h2)
“I want to make the most epic event that’s ever happened, outside going to the moon,” Amusement Park’s Jimmy Smith, architect for ‘Heaven Sent’ said.
The primetime special on Fox will show a behind-the-scenes look at this event, which has included 200 practice jumps:
3. Aikins Expects To Hit 125 MPH Between The Plane & The Net
Asked on his Facebook page what kind of g-forces he would expect, Aikins said “normal opening is 3.5 ish. At terminal we have been experiencing 3.9 on our test drops.” That force is comparable to a “high force” roller coaster and a little more than the space shuttle’s launch and re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
4. A 26-Year Skydiving Career, Aikins Has 18,000 Jumps Under His Belt
As a 12-year-old, Aikins completed his first tandem jump, according to ABC News. Now, at 42, Aikins has 18,000 jumps under his belt and has helped train “some of the world’s most elite skydivers,” ABC wrote.
It’s in his blood, he says.
“Born to a skydiving dynasty, Luke is on staff at Washington’s Kapowsin Air Sports, and he has contributed to the family legacy with three world records,” his Red Bull Stratos bio states.
5. Aikins Expects Everything To Go Smoothly
With the world watching on television and his family on hand nearby, Aikins said he’s a little nervous but expects everything to go smoothly.
The Guardian reports one 200-pound test dummy didn’t bounce out of the net, but instead “crashed right through” it.
“Luke just said: ‘No biggie, that’s why we test,'” Smith, the promoter, said.