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Without a parachute, sky diver plummets into net from 25,000 feet

Without a parachute, sky diver plummets into net from 25,000 feet
Luke Aikins jumps from a helicopter during his training in Simi Valley. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)

Luke Aikins accomplished something Saturday night that no one else has ever done: he jumped out a plane 25,000 feet up in the air and landed in a net without a wingsuit or parachute.

Aikins landed in a 100-by-100-foot net that was set up several stories above the ground in Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley. He then climbed out of the net and gave his wife a hug. She watched the jump from the ground with other family members.

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"My whole life has been about air aviation, flying, jumping, all that stuff. It's the last step that I see," Aikins, 42, said in an interview with a local Fox station in Washington state, where he lives. "We've all dreamed about flying and I always have to open a parachute."

"I'm here to show you that if we approach it the right way and we test it and we prove that it's good to go, we can do things that we don't think are possible."

About an hour before his jump, Aikins was told by the Screen Actors Guild that he could not complete the stunt without wearing a parachute. The jump, called "Heaven Sent," was broadcast live on Fox. Aikins indicated he would not open the chute and as the plane climbed 25,000 feet into the air, he was told the requirement had been dropped.

He took off the parachute and fell through the sky for two minutes before flipping onto his back and landing in the net.

Aikins, who's married with a 4-year-old son, is a third-generation sky diver who has done more than 18,000 sky-dive jumps as well as stunts for movies. But a jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit is believed to be a first.

He practiced at the old movie ranch for the past few months, successfully landing in a smaller net dozens of times. Aikins has had to figure out how to roll over in midair onto his back so he lands smoothly. Depending on the wind, he has to use his arms to shift his weight to make sure he doesn't stray too far from the net.

“Nothing worth doing is ever easy,” Aikins posted on Facebook on Saturday morning.

Twitter: @skarlamangla

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