Pilots Luke Aikins & Andy Farrington are seen skydiving during Plane Swap in Eloy, Arizona, USA, on April 24, 2022. // Keith Ladzinski / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202204250119 // Usage for editorial use only //
Pilot Luke Aikins is seen successfully entering the silver plane, during Plane Swap in Eloy, Arizona on April 24, 2022 // Predrag Vuckovic / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202204250117 // Usage for editorial use only //
Pilots Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington are reunited following Plane Swap in Eloy, Arizona, USA, on April 24, 2022. // Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202204250114 // Usage for editorial use only //
Pilot Luke Aikins successfully achieves ‘Plane Swap’.
ELOY, ARIZONA, USA (updated April 25, 2022) Pilots and cousins Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington attempted to Plane Swap mid-air for the first time. Their attempt was partially accomplished, with Aikins successfully swapping planes and landing his aircraft in the Arizona desert.
Farrington, a skilled skydiver, was unable to enter the plane he was approaching. He skydived into a safe landing.
Aikins and Farrington are experienced pilots and skydivers. Aikins entered the event with 21,000 jumps and 8,750 commercial flying hours and Farrington had 27,000 jumps and 6,000 commercial flying hours to his name. They had also performed more than 5,000 jumps together since their teenage years.
Aikins had previously served as a consultant on the Red Bull Stratos mission, performed a historic first-ever skydive without a parachute on live TV (2016) and developed Red Bull Aces, the first-ever wingsuit slalom competition (2014).
Leading into the attempt to become the first pilots to have swapped planes unassisted, Aikins and Farrington had spent 12 months preparing a pair of experimental Cessna 182s which they would pilot for the feat.
“I mean, we proved that it was possible. We’re pushing boundaries out here and what’s great is I jumped from one, I got in the other one, we landed, I landed safely. Andy landed safely under a parachute. The plane landed under a parachute. All of our safety protocols worked,” Aikins said.
“That’s why we’re here where we are, everybody’s safe. The parachute system works just like it was supposed to… There’s no way to test it until you do it.”
Farrington’s aircraft’s safety mechanisms activated but the plane was damaged.
“Yeah. I mean, we are there, all the numbers matched up and everything like that. Everything should have been good to go for some reason. It wasn’t that way,” Farrington added.
“But at the end of the day, we’re both here. We’re both good to go. Everybody’s safe and sound and I guess that’s an important part.”
Neither Aikins or Farrington, nor anybody else, was injured.