Luke Aikins is a professional American skydiver and pilot. He is a well-known member of the Red Bull Air Force, an elite team consisting of paraglider pilots, BASE jumpers, and skydivers who challenge and explore the possibilities and limits of human flight. He was an important part of the team that helped carry out the Felix Baumgartner 2012 hot air balloon jump from a height of 120,000 feet in the stratosphere. He began skydiving after he turned 12 and has since then finished over 18,000 jumps.
A holder of 3 world records, Aikins was the first man in the world to dive without a wing suit or a parachute, from a height in mid troposphere, and land without any injuries. Luke is currently in the news for being the first person to jump 25,000 feet from a plane without a parachute and land safely into a net.
Personal life and career
Luke was born on 23rd November 1973 into a family that worked as skydivers and BASE jumpers. He is married to Monica and the couple has a son.
Aikins is a part of the staff at the family-owned company Skydive Kapowsin in Tacoma, Washington. This company has been in the business for more than 30 years. Luke also runs his own company called Para Tactics. It offers training in skydiving to American Navy Seals and other soldiers belonging to the elite forces in the military.
Luke teaches and has coached skydiving to people from all walks of life, including Brian Vickers of NASCAR. He also acts as a training and safety instructor and advisor to the US Parachute Association. He is renowned as an aerial photographer. Many major newspapers and magazines have published his photos. Aikins also offers consultations on parachute configuration, skydiving products, etc. He is known for his innovation in optimal pivotal flight postures. Aikins is one of the first persons to combine skis with a canopy so as to vertically fly down the slopes and sides of a mountain. He is considered as an expert in the art of swooping associated with precision skydiving.
Luke Aikins – Wife
The Jump without a Parachute
On 30th July 2016, Aikins jumped off from an airplane from an altitude of 25,000 without a parachute and landed safely in Simi Valley, California’s Big Sky movie ranch. Screen Actors Guild wanted him to wear a parachute for safety purposes, but this requirement was lifted just before the jump. Aikins had stated that wearing a parachute would have complicated the landing process and made the jump more dangerous due to the need to adjust his landing position as he approached the 100ft x 100 feet net.
The idea for the jump was first proposed by physiologist friend Chris Talley about 2 years ago. Luke initially turned it down, but later thought otherwise. He then trained for many months and lost over two stones to get physically ready for the jump.
Aikins used an oxygen tank for the first 10,000 feet and then disposed of it. He plunged downwards at a speed of 150 mph and all his posture and position adjustments were trained to the last second. Just before landing, he flipped on his back and landed on the net without mishap.