The BASE jumper who thinks nothing of freefalling 25,000ft without a parachute
“If you're not growing, you’re dying, right?” asks Red Bull Air Force member Luke Aikins. With two decades of experience in the air, Luke’s primary aim is always to keep growing his talent, and to bring out the talent in others. To date, he’s logged over 14,000 skydives, has excelled in competition, established three world records and is a popular performer in demos all year round. Not only that, but Luke is also respected for his skill in teaching, and has a certain knack for innovation. Luke made his first solo skydive at age 16 and eventually added BASE jumping to his repertoire. A veteran contender in the Pro Swooping Tour, Luke also notched a win at the Red Bull Blade Raid in 2008, a radical event that combines flying a canopy with running skis for 60-mile-per-hour descents around mountain obstacles. Since that victory, he’s devoted much of his time to progression of research and development of equipment and flying techniques. From proposing and developing new parachute deployment mechanisms to personally participating in test jumps at 28,000 feet, Luke has been a go-to consultant for researchers, as his work in the Red Bull Stratos project proves. Luke also teaches at all levels; he has coached NASCAR’s Brian Vickers and regularly instructs the military on cutting-edge skydiving techniques. He’s also an expert aerial photographer and has had his pictures published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide. In July 2016 he become just the third person to dive from mid-tropospheric altitude and land safely without a parachute or a wing suit.