FAA Grounds Pilots Who Tried To Switch Planes In Midair
By Bill Galluccio
May 12, 2022
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered two pilots who tried to swap planes in midair to "surrender their pilot certificates immediately" because their actions were "careless and reckless so as to endanger the life and property of another."
On April 24, Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington took to the air in a pair of modified Cessna 182s over the Arizona desert. The duo planned to swap planes, but the stunt failed. While Aikins managed to jump into the other plane and take control, Farrington was forced to abort as the other plane spiraled out of control and crashed into the desert. Neither pilot was injured.
Two days before attempting the stunt, which was sponsored by Red Bull, the FAA informed Aikins that he had been denied a waiver to perform the dangerous act. The duo pushed forward anyway and attempted the stunt, which was streamed live on Hulu.
"The FAA revoked the pilot certificates of the two pilots involved in the unauthorized Red Bull plane swap stunt on April 24, 2022, in Arizona," the FAA said in a statement. "The attempted stunt resulted in the crash of one of the two single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft. The lead pilot requested an exemption for the stunt from the FAA, which the agency denied."
Aikins was also fined $4,932 for "abandoning his pilot's seat and operating an aircraft in a reckless manner."