As stuntman and daredevil Luke Aikins fell toward the ground going 150 mph from what seemed like outer space, I kept waiting for a parachute to deploy. But he didn't have one. He wasn't wearing a wingsuit, either.
Instead, he was relying on one heck of a net to catch his 25,000-foot dive.
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Aikins, an experienced 42-year-old stuntman who helps run a skydiving school in Washington state, had to hit a 10,000-square-foot net. That's not actually very big when you're speeding down at 120 mph. The stunt, sponsored by Stride Gum, was aptly dubbed "Heaven Sent." Despite his credentials and careful prep, the jump seemed impossible. When I first heard about the plan, I thought, "This dude could die! Like, he could really die."
Normally the United States Parachute Association requires chutes to open at 2,500 feet, but Aikins and his crew got a waiver. "The way I look at it, in my head and everything, is this is my parachute," he told the Ventura County Star in a video, motioning to the net behind him. "It's a massive parachute. I just have it below me instead of above me."