Plane swap stunt ends in crash over Arizona after feds denied initial safety exemption request

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating an "attempted Red Bull Plane Swap" in Arizona that ended in a crash when one of the two planes involved spun out of control on April 24.

"One of the two single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft used in the stunt crashed after it spun out of control. The pilot landed safely by parachute. The other pilot regained control of the second aircraft and landed safely," the FAA said.

The administration previously denied the request from Red Bull which asked for an exemption from feds to do the stunt, although it violates safe airplane operation protocols.

Red Bull explained its stunt, saying on its website, "On Sunday, April 24th, Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington will go down in history as the first pilots to take off in one aircraft and land in another after sending their airplanes into a nosedive and jumping out of them!"

Adding, "Plane Swap has been a year in the making with hours and hours put in by Luke, Andy, Paulo and Aaron Fitzgerald the Aerial Coordinator to ensure the plan goes off without a hitch."

The FAA provided its denial letter and in the letter, it stated, "The FAA has considered the petition, and finds that granting an exemption from § 91.105(a) would not be in the public interest and cannot find that the proposed operation would not adversely affect safety."

Continuing, the FAA further explained the reasoning for the denial, saying, "The FAA does not evaluate these deficiencies in greater detail because the petitioner does not provide a sufficient public interest case. Additionally, granting the petitioner’s request for relief would be contrary to previous denials of requests for relief from the same regulation to allow the flight crew to leave the flight deck and airplane during the operation of the airplane so as to allow the airplane to simulate a crash landing.

Second, the FAA has determined that a grant of exemption is not in the public interest for the proposed operation. The petitioner states that he has been conducting the operation in compliance with FAA regulations by having an additional pilot on board the airplane designated as PIC while the airplane swap described in the petition for exemption occurs. Because the FAA cannot conclude that the operations for which relief is sought (i.e., an operation without a pilot in the airplane and at the controls) would not adversely affect safety, and because the petitioner can continue to perform this demonstration in compliance with FAA regulations by including an additional pilot for each airplane, there is no public interest in granting the exemption request."

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