FAA Slaps Pilots Hard Over Senseless Stunt

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Red Bull may give you wings but the FAA can take them away, as two ex-pilots just learned to their dismay. They were warned not to pull their senseless stunt but they did it anyway. Now they have consequences to face.

FAA revokes licenses

After the FAA got done investigating the botched “plane swap” stunt sponsored by Red Bull, they yanked the licenses of both involved pilots. The word was passed down on Thursday, May 12.

The Looney Tunes plan was for the two bat-suited skydivers to abandon their controls in midair over the Arizona desert, then swap planes and regain control. One did, the other didn’t. They’re blaming technical difficulties which the feds don’t give a flying fig about.

Even if one of the planes didn’t crash, both pilots would still be in heavy FAA trouble. Under no circumstances is the person in control of an aircraft allowed to abdicate their responsibility to maintain control.

Next, we’ll have people trying to swap cars on the freeway. The one who lost his plane landed by parachute.

All the FAA cares about is that “cousins Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington violated federal aviation regulations.

The ones “which prohibit the reckless operation of an aircraft and mandates flight crew members be in the appropriate places and positions upon takeoff and landing.

April 24 over Eloy

The stunt, which looks like it was planned by Wile E. Coyote, took place April 24 in the skies above Eloy, Arizona, situated around 65 miles southeast of Phoenix.

The FAA investigation reports that “Aikins and Farrington piloted two Cessna 182 model aircrafts.” They had special gear to make them fly nose down but for one plane, it didn’t work.

While mid-flight, the pilots unfastened their seatbelts and attempted to perform a plane swap by skydiving from one aircraft to the other as both planes dived vertically,” the FAA writes.

Aikins was able to complete the stunt but Farrington was unable to make it into Aikins’ aircraft, which subsequently crashed.

The way the FAA sees it, Aikins and Farrington operated their planes “carelessly or recklessly, so as to endanger the life or property of another.” That’s not good. Hundreds of people spent a whole year setting it up. “Two days ahead of the stunt, the FAA denied a petition from Aikins that would have allowed the pilots to be exempt from certain aviation rules.

They weren’t going to walk away just because the authorities wouldn’t give their blessing. Aikins, the project’s “leader and chief pilot,” admitted “that he received the denied petition beforehand” but that he “made the personal decision to move forward with plane swap.

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