Skydiving has taken off in recent years with so many variations from BASE jumps and wing suits that some thrill seekers are leaving the parachute on the ground altogether.
Not many sky divers are doing this, mind you, but one fearless stuntman is planning to perform a record-breaking sky dive without a parachute from 25,000 feet on live television Saturday on FOX.
The event, billed as part of an hour-long TV special called Heaven Sent airing 8 pm EST, plans to feature Luke Aikins as he attempts to become the first person to sky dive without a parachute into a giant netting.
At first, posed with the stunt, the American thrill seeker said, “no way.”
“I said, ‘You won’t believe these guys,'” he told the Associate Press, recalling a conversation with his wife. “‘They want me to jump out without a parachute.’ She said, ‘Oh, with a wingsuit.’ I said, ‘No, they want me to do it with nothing.’ We both had a good laugh about that.”
But after a while the challenge intrigued him and he was determined to figure out if it was possible.
“Like any normal, sane person I said, ‘Thank you but no thank you I have a wife and a son and I’ve got a life to live,’ ” Aikins, 42, told PEOPLE.
“Then, two weeks went by and I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking, if somebody said you had to do this how could it be done?” he said.
After 18,000 jumps Aikins is extremely qualified for such a stunt, so it was certainly within his wheel house. Thinking there must be a way, he went about devising a giant net to catch him and absorb the forces propelling him to the ground.
He’s been testing the net with a 200-pound dummy and so far just once has it crashed straight through the webbing. Not bad, though he’s hoping for zero percent chance of failure.
Should he succeed, Aikin’s stunt will not be the first time a person has jumped from an airplane or helicopter without a parachute. In 2012, Gary Connery leaped from 2,400 feet with a wingsuit in to a pile of cardboard boxes. And in 2013 a 31-year-old Frenchman BASE jumped without a parachute using only a wingsuit and landed by skimming along a lake.
For more on the FOX special featuing Luke Aikins’ death defying no parachute jump click here.
Photo credit: @LukeAikins