FAA to Investigate Red Bull Stunt Following Plane Crash During Midair Swap


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FAA denied Friday’s request from organizers for an exemption to federal regulations

Federal Aviation Association stated that it was investigating a Sunday attempt by two pilots at switching planes in mid-air. Red Bull hosted the event in Arizona, but one plane crashed. Both pilots made it to the ground safely.

The weekend stunt was planned by the skydiving masters and their cousins to swap planes in midair, in the hopes of setting a new aviation landmark.

However, the FAA stated that it had denied organizers’ request for an exemption to regulations covering safe operation of aircraft. It is not clear how this decision affected Sunday’s event.

Red Bull Media House is a global multi-media company that organized the Sunday event over Phoenix. Red Bull described the plane swap as a first of its kind and said it would be streamed live on Hulu. Hulu’s trailer teased that “no one is at the controls” as well as “1 minute to watch.”

According to Red Bull, Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington, would fly their Cessna 182 airplanes into a synchronized nosedive from 14,000 feet (4,000 m), stopping the engines. A custom-made airbrake kept the planes at a controlled speed of 140 MPH (225 Kph).

The pilots would then exit their respective aircraft and skydive into each other’s planes, crossing over each other mid-air and regaining control in under one minute. Aikens is the inventor of the plane swap.

The pilot was not able to control the single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft, so the aircraft crashed. The pilot deployed his parachutist and safely landed.

Red Bull stated that hours of research and development went into the planned feat in order to make it a success.

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