The Red Bull Plane Swap was a record-breaking attempt by two pilots to each fly a Cessna 182 aircraft up to 14,000 feet, positioning the aircraft into a vertical nosedive before jumping out with the goal of skydiving into the other unmanned aircraft, regaining control and landing safely.
The stunt, which was livestreamed on Hulu last Sunday, did not go as planned when one aircraft involved spiraled out of control and crashed into an Arizona desert.
Luke Aikins, the lead pilot for the Red Bull Plane Swap and the creator of the stunt, posted an apology to his Instagram page, taking responsibility for moving forward with the stunt, which was revealed to have been unauthorized by the FAA.
“As project lead and chief pilot, it was entirely my responsibility to operate within the regulatory framework to ensure a successful outcome.”
RELATED: FAA investigating Red Bull plane swap after stunt ends in crash
Aikins noted in the post that he had received an email from the FAA two days before the stunt that his request for an exemption from federal regulations was denied. Additionally, he said he did not share that information with his team.
“I received email notice April 22, 2022 from the FAA that a specific exemption was not granted and I made the personal decision to move forward with plane swap. I regret not sharing this information with my team and those who supported me.”
GlobalAir.com obtained the letter from the FAA denying the request for an exemption from regulation 91.105(a)(1), which states that a person must be in the cockpit when the aircraft is in flight.
At this time, it is still unclear what went wrong during the stunt, but Aikins said he is working with authorities during the investigation.
“I am now turning my attention to cooperatively working transparently with the regulatory authorities as we review the planning and execution.”
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