Aviation history has to wait, but the disaster was avoided.
Two cousins, Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington, failed to complete the first “flight change” Sunday night across Arizona’s skies when one plane got out of control as the two pilots were thousands of feet in the air.
Both pilots were safe without reported injuries.
The Red Bull-sponsored flight, which took place at an unknown location in Arizona, began when the two pilots ascended to the clouds around 5:45 p.m. local time.
Nearly an hour later, the two jumped out at 12,100 feet into the air with the air brake system engaged on both aircraft. Aikins was able to get into the second plane, but Farrington was unable to do so.
The plane got out of control when Farrington could be heard saying on-air “the blue plane is out of control.” Farrington then put down his parachute and landed safely in a remote area. The uncontrolled aircraft was wearing a parachute that was automatically activated when it reached a certain altitude, and it was deployed before it touched the ground.
The condition and location of the aircraft were not immediately known.
The wind of 6 miles per hour created good conditions for the stunt, the pilots said up to the stunt, as the area had faster winds in the days leading up to the event. But Farrington was unsure of what happened.
“It just went, and instead of stopping in that 90-degree dive, it just kept going and came over on its back,” Farrington said. “It just was not a chance.”
“You’re just happy that everyone is here and feeling good and all that, but just disappointed,” he added.
The key to the mission was the custom-made air brakes, made with the help of Paulo Iscold, an engineer and professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
The brake was developed and tested several times in the air in San Luis Obispo, California, more than 150 miles north of Los Angeles, allowing the planes to brake somewhat as they traveled at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour.
Aikins noted that they were able to test far too stunted except the dive itself. He said the plane, which lost its center of gravity, could have played a role during the dive.
“I thought I was leaving Andy a good plane. I’m trying to think of what else I could have done to make it better for him when I traveled,” Aikins said. “We are doing what we can to prepare for this, and we hope it never happens. This is truly the best result of a sad situation.”
As for whether the duo will try the stunt again, Aikins said “we will go back and find out.”
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @ jordan_mendoza5.