Mid-air plane swap stunt goes wrong after one plane spirals out of control
A mid-air plane swap stunt that had been in the works for over 10 years could not be completed successfully after one of the planes spiraled out of control moments after the pilot left it, USA Today reported.
Last month, we had reported that pilots Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington planned to jump out of their Cessna 182 aircraft after setting them into a nosedive at 14,000 feet (4,000 m) and then swap airplanes mid-air. To help them in their endeavor, the aircrafts were equipped with custom airbrake that would allow the planes to drop at a controlled speed of nearly 140 mph (225 kph), 7News said in its report.
One Plane holds steady while the other spirals
The pilots began their attempt at completing the 'worlds-first' plane swap stunt at around 5:45 pm local time, with their planes taking off from an undisclosed location in Arizona. An hour into the flight, the duo engaged their planes into a nose-dive at about 12,100 feet (3.7 km) with the airbrakes engaged and jumped out of their respective aircraft, USA Today reported.
While Aikins managed to complete his swap, the blue plane he had left moments before began spiraling, as seen in the video above. With no option left, Farrington deployed his parachute and landed while the aircraft that spiraled allegedly crashed, as was reported by this Twitter user.
The pilots told USA Today that they had tested everything except the dive before the stunt, and the plane losing its center of gravity was possibly the reason for the spiral. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
FAA To Investigate
Apart from figuring out what went wrong in the stunt, the pilots and their sponsor, energy drink company, Red Bull, will also find themselves at the receiving end of a federal investigation as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said they had denied permission to perform the stunt.
Red Bull had sought relaxation of safety norms for this stunt, which the FAA has denied on Friday, citing that it was not in the public interest, the aviation regulator told 7News. It is unclear how FAA's denial impacted the event carried out on Sunday, nevertheless.
Last week, we reported how the FAA purposely revoked a pilot's license to crash a single-seater plane.