Skydivers Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington aim to switch planes mid-flight in 'Plane Swap'.
Aikins and Farrington will fly to a height of 14,000 feet and then put their Cessna 182 single-seat planes into a synchronised nosedive and cut the engines. They will exit their planes as a custom-made airbrake holds them steady at a speed of 225kph (140mph). The pair - who are cousins - will then skydive into the other's plane before cutting the airbrake, regaining control of the plane and landing the aircraft.
'Plane Swap' is the first time in aviation history this has been attempted.
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HOW CAN I WATCH 'PLANE SWAP'?
You can watch and stream 'Plane Swap' on Eurosport and discovery+. The program starts at 00:00 on 25/04/22 and runs through until 03:00.
'It sounded crazy'
Hours of research and development have gone into the modifications required to ensure the feat is possible, with world-renowned aeronautical engineer Dr Paulo Iscold partnering with Aikins and Farrington to serve as lead engineer. His main task was solving the issue of how to produce a controlled vertical descent – the exact opposite of how autopilot systems are designed to function.
This required the reverse engineering of the autopilot mechanics and resulted in a purpose-built airbrake system installed on the belly that will hold the planes at a controlled-descent speed of 225kph (140 mph) that closely matches the rate of the skydivers' descent.
“He told me about the idea to swap planes in the air and it sounded crazy," said Iscold.
"Nobody had done it before and I liked the idea of getting involved in something no one has ever done. I told him right away, ‘I’m in, I want to do it. Whatever it takes, I will do it’.”
'365 days of work for 40 seconds of outcome'
The world-first will take less than a minute in its entirety, according to the calculations of Iscold.
“It's literally that all the work I've been doing for a year is for 40 seconds of dive flight,” he says. “It's 365 days of work for 40 seconds of outcome.”
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Watch and stream 'Plane Swap' on Eurosport and discovery+
'No way to test until you do it' - Reaction after unsuccessful Red bull skydiving plane swap
Discovery to air world-first as skydivers aim to switch planes mid-flight in ‘Plane Swap’
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