Red Bull conducted a stunt that involved a pair of pilots attempting to skydive into each other’s aircraft mid-flight, and they are now facing a federal investigation after it went awry over the Arizona desert on Sunday.
Pilot Andy Farrington, 42, and his cousin, Luke Aikins, 48, were each piloting a Cessna prop plane flying at 12,000 feet in what was billed as the first midair “plane swap,” which was being livestreamed on Hulu.
One of the planes went into a flat spin after the pilots sky-dived in an attempt to jump into each other’s planes. Farrington deployed his parachute while falling 140 miles an hour, while Aikins remarkably did make it to Farrington’s plane and took over the controls.
The other plane that had spun out of control deployed a tail chute and drifted to the ground. Both pilots made it back to the ground unscathed.
The Federal Aviation Administration told NBC News it did not sanction the stunt and has launched a full investigation. NBC News asked Red Bull before the stunt if it had to be approved by the FAA.
“The Red Bull Air Force maintains a close working relationship with the FAA for all aircraft and aviation feats,” Red Bull wrote in an email.
However, the FAA told NBC News that on April 23 it denied Red Bull’s request for “an exemption from federal regulations that cover the safe operation of an aircraft.”
Bull says it’s now looking into how it potentially ran afoul of the FAA by performing the stunt.e are investigating how — despite our careful planning — this occurred,” a Red Bull spokesperson told NBC News.
The pilots could potentially be grounded, pay fines or lose their licenses as a result of the FAA investigation, according to NBC News.