Plane Swap Stunt Ends In Failure As Plane Crashes In The Arizona Desert

By Bill Galluccio

April 25, 2022

Photo: Red Bull

Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington partially failed in their attempt to be the first pair of pilots to successfully swap planes in midair. The duo attempted the dangerous stunt on Sunday (April 24) over Arizona.

While the pilots were cruising at an altitude of 12,000 feet, they engaged the airbrake system in their specially designed Cessna 182 aircraft and exited their cockpits.

While Aikins managed to climb into the other plane, Farrington could not as the plane spun out of control. Aikins managed to safely land his Cessna, while Farrington was forced to deploy his parachute and watch, and his aircraft crashed into the ground.

Luckily, nobody was injured during the stunt.

Both pilots were bummed that the stunt didn't work, though they were glad nobody was hurt.

"I thought I left Andy a good plane. I'm trying to think of what else I could have done to make it better for him when I left," Aikins said. "We do what we can to prepare for this stuff, and we hope it never happens. This is the best outcome of a bummer situation, really."

Farrington said he wasn't sure why his plane spiraled out of control.

"It just went, and instead of stopping in that 90-degree dive, it just kept going and got over on his back," Farrington said. "It was just not a chance."

"You're just happy everybody's here and good and all that stuff, but just disappointed," he added.

Aikins and Farrington said they plan to attempt the stunt again.

The failed stunt attracted the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, which launched an investigation. The agency wasn't thrilled because it had denied a permit for the stunt, but the pilots attempted it anyway.

"The FAA will investigate Sunday evening's attempted Red Bull Plane Swap in Arizona," the FAA said in a statement. "The agency on Friday denied the organizer's request for an exemption from Federal regulations that cover the safe operation of an aircraft."

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