Is that a bird? Is that a plane?
No, it’s the incredibly brave (to the point of foolish) American skydiver Luke Aikins, who just plunged into thin air without even a shred of parachute to steer him.
The 42-year-old brave-heart is a veteran of 18,000 jumps. For his Heaven Sent jump at Simi Valley, California, Luke had challenged himself to jump from an altitude of 25,000 feet without a parachute. With the stunt being shown on national television, Screen Actors Guild intervened, insisting that Luke wear a parachute in accordance with its requirements.
Moments before the jump, however, the requirement was lifted.
Aikins’ skydiver wife and 7-year-old son watched him as he walked the tightrope between life and not living, to expand his boundaries. A petrified audience huddled around TVs in living rooms and offices, eager to catch a glimpse of history being made.
And then he dove.
At 18,000 feet, Aikins tore off his oxygen mask. Using lights on the net to position himself, he aimed for the 100-by-100-foot net spread out for him at 150 feet.
Luke Aikins is an absolute mad man! 25,000ft jump without a parachute pic.twitter.com/MuiN7HDFyI— Matson Hunter (@MatsonHunter) July 31, 2016
As he neared the end of the stunt, Aikins executed a beautiful flip onto his back. He landed on the net, without any mishap as many dreaded. Within moments, he dove into the anxious arms of his wife. History had been rewritten to accommodate the stunt.
Aikins’s friend and psychologist, Chris Talley, first suggested the jump two years ago. After initially declining the offer, Aikins came around to the idea. The parachute, Aikins believed, would have been more of a risk than a protection, as it would have hindered him from positioning himself.
Aikins' words after the jump resonate with everyone out there chasing an impossible target, trying to fulfill an improbable dream.
Watch the video above for an excellent, even if secondhand, adrenaline surge.