The FAA has revoked the pilot certificates of Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington following their highly publicized attempt to “take off in one aircraft and land in another after sending their planes into a nosedive and jumping out of them” last month. The attempt ended with Aikins successfully making the swap while Farrington parachuted to the ground when one of the aircraft spiraled out of control and crashed. No one was injured in the stunt, which was put on by Red Bull and livestreamed by Hulu.
“The FAA revoked the pilot certificates of the two pilots involved in the unauthorized Red Bull plane swap stunt on April 24, 2022, in Arizona,” the agency said in a statement. “The attempted stunt resulted in the crash of one of the two single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft. The lead pilot requested an exemption for the stunt from the FAA, which the agency denied.”
As previously reported by AVweb, the request denied by the FAA was made by Aikins and asked for an exemption from regulations prohibiting required crewmembers from leaving their stations while an aircraft is in flight. Aikins, who served as project lead and chief pilot for the Red Bull Plane Swap, claimed responsibility for moving forward with the stunt in a statement posted on Instagram. He also noted that he had not shared information regarding the denied exemption with his team.
The FAA’s emergency revocation orders require Aikins and Farrington to surrender their certificates immediately. Neither one will be able to apply for or be issued new airman certificates for a year. The agency has also proposed a $4,932 fine for Aikins for the violation of three regulations—14 CFR 91.105(a) regarding required flight crew members remaining at their stations, 91.113(b) regarding the duty of the pilot to see and avoid other aircraft and 91.13 regarding not operating an aircraft in a careless and reckless manner.