Stunt in Arizona had been refused permission by FAA but pilots went ahead with it anyway
Etter en Red Bull stunt ended with a crashed plane and a government investigation, one of the pilots has come forward to take the blame.
“As project lead and chief pilot, it was entirely my responsibility to operate within the regulatory framework to ensure a successful outcome,” Red Bull Air Force pilot Luke Aikins said in a uttalelse på fredag.
Mr Aikins and his cousin, Andy Farrington, attempted the “plane swap” stunt on 24 april. The plan was for each pilot to jump out of his plane, skydive into the other’s, and land the second plane safely.
Only Mr Aikins managed to pull it off. Mr Farrington parachuted his way to the ground, while the plane he was meant to land krasjet into the Arizona desert. Heldigvis, no one was hurt.
“The FAA will investigate Sunday evening’s attempted Red Bull Plane Swap in Arizona,” the agency told Den uavhengige. “The agency on Friday denied the organizer’s request for an exemption from Federal regulations that cover the safe operation of an aircraft.”
På fredag, Mr Aikins confirmed that the stunt had gone forward in spite of the FAA’s refusal, but said only he was to blame.
“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,” Mr Aikins said.
According to the pilot, he did not tell Red Bull that the FAA had said no.
“I regret not sharing this information with my team and those who supported me,” Mr Aikins said. “I am now turning my attention to cooperatively working transparently with the regulatory authorities as we review the planning and execution.”
In an email to Den uavhengige, Red Bull praised Mr Aikins for being “honest” about what happened.
“Luke is a courageous, highly skilled athlete who has been a friend of Red Bull for many years,”Sa selskapet. “He has been entirely upfront and honest about his responsibility in this matter. We look forward to his continued friendship.”
The FAA is currently investigating the incident. Whether it will reach the same conclusion – that Mr Aikins acted alone, without Red Bull’s knowledge or involvement – remains to be seen. In response to Den uavhengige’s request for comment, the agency said only that the investigation is ongoing.