Luke Aikins has dropped from a plane 16,000 times. But he never got as much attention as Saturday’s free fall in Simi Valley without a parachute. What’s his backstory?

Luke Aikins. Photo via
Red Bull Stratos says: “Born to a skydiving dynasty, Luke is on staff at Washington’s Kapowsin Air Sports, and he has contributed to the family legacy with three world records.

“He’s an expert at the precision skydiving discipline of swooping; he’s one of the pioneers of combining a canopy with skis to fly vertically down mountain sides; and he’s an adept BASE jumper and airplane pilot. … He is one of the designated Safety and Training Advisors for the United States Parachute Association.”

In 2012, he lent his expertise to skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from a hot air balloon at 120,000 feet.

Aikins, 42, thinks he reached 125 mph during Saturday’s dive into a net.

Others think he’s a hero, or a madman.

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