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A portrait of Red Bull Air Force member Luke Aikins, who became the first person to jump from 25,000 feet (7,620m) without a parachute or wingsuit on live TV on July 30.
Last Saturday, professional skydiver Luke Aikins jumped out of a plane 25,000 feet above Simi Valley, California. It was the first time in his 18,000-plus skydives that the 42-year-old athlete did not wear a parachute.
During the two-minute fall aired live on television, Aikins reached the speed of 120mph (193km/h) before falling in a large net suspended by cranes 200 feet (60m) above the ground.
But who is the man behind the stunt? Born in Texas, he’s made his first solo skydive at age 16. Over the last two and a half decades, this husband and father of one excelled at skydiving and BASE jumping, becoming one of the pioneers of combining a canopy with skis to fly vertically down mountain sides.
The skydiving consultant for the Red Bull Stratos project in 2012, Aikins has developed new parachute deployment mechanisms and participated in test jumps at 28,000 feet (8,530m).
He’s also coached NASCAR's Brian Vickers and regularly instructs the military on cutting-edge skydiving techniques. An expert aerial photographer, he has had his pictures published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide.
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