Pilot takes responsibility for Red Bull plane maneuver gone wrong: ‘It was entirely my responsibility’

After a Red Bull coup ended with a crashed plane and a government investigation, one of the pilots came forward to take the blame.

“As project leader and chief pilot, it was entirely my responsibility to operate within the regulatory framework to ensure a successful outcome,” said Luke Aikins, a Red Bull Air Force pilot, in a statement Friday.

Aikins and his cousin, Andy Farrington, attempted the “swap plane” scam on April 24. The plan was for each pilot to jump out of his plane, parachute into the other, and land the second plane safely.

only Mr. Aikins managed to do it. Farrington parachuted to the ground as the plane he was supposed to land on crashed in the Arizona desert. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Afterwards, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it had turned down Red Bull’s request to attempt the stunt, but the company went ahead anyway.

“The FAA will investigate Red Bull’s attempted plane swap in Arizona on Sunday night,” the agency said. The Independent. “The agency on Friday denied the organizer’s request for exemption from federal regulations covering the safe operation of an aircraft.”

On Friday, Aikins confirmed the stunt went ahead despite the FAA’s refusal, but said he alone was to blame.

“I received an email notice on April 22, 2022 from the FAA that a specific waiver had not been granted and I have made the personal decision to move forward with Plane Swap,” Aikins said.

According to the driver, he did not tell Red Bull that the FAA had said no.

“I regret not sharing this information with my team and those who have supported me,” said Aikins. “I am now turning my attention to working cooperatively in a transparent manner with regulatory authorities as we review planning and execution.”

In an email to The IndependentRed Bull praised Aikins for being “honest” about what happened.

“Luke is a courageous and highly skilled athlete who has been friends with Red Bull for many years,” the company said. “He was totally frank and honest about his responsibility in this matter. We look forward to your continued friendship.”

The FAA is investigating the incident. Whether it will come to the same conclusion – that Aikins acted alone, without Red Bull’s knowledge or involvement – ​​remains to be seen. In reply to The Independentof the request for comment, the agency said only that the investigation is ongoing.

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