When you think about it, every single successful airplane flight is a stunt. Whether trick plane or jumbo jet, the act of motoring thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of pounds off the ground is a testament to the miracles of technology and a pilot’s skill. That said, actual tricks that incorporate planes make us quake with respect for the might and agility of one of man’s greatest inventions. You may’ve been to an air show before, but we’re pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like this.
Back in July, we wrote about how FMX rider, Pter Pilat, took a trip to Mexico City and nailed one of the craziest backflips ever. Pilat managed to do a back flip off a segmented ramp and over a plane flying right in between the obstacle’s chasm. At the time, we focused more on Pilat’s backflip than on Red Bull expert pilot Kirby Chambliss’ stunning maneuver, but we really need to give the plane part of this whole production a shout out. Not only did Chambliss have to navigate between an extremely small ramp gap, but he also had to time his dip perfectly so as not to injure himself or Pilat, all while going pretty darn fast. The craziest part: he successfully undercuts Pilat multiple times, dispelling any and all proclamations that this might have been a fluke occurence.
Man on a Wing
Have you ever been on a flight where you have a window seat right near the wing? Did you ever ponder what it’d be like to stand on it, the wind beating mercilessly at you as you process frantic glimpses of a civilization thousands of feet below? There’s something undeniably attractive about the extreme danger of being in that position. It’s like taking the rush of standing on a skyscraper’s roof or peering over the edge of a mountain and multiplying by one million. Apparently this daredevil shared our fascination with one of the ultimate safety taboos. Though he’s wearing a parachute, his hesitant stance and his seemingly unexpected dismount sends shivers up our spines.
Joe Jennings is a cinematographer and skydiving stuntman which isn’t at all surprising, because this stunt is the kind of thing we’d expect to see in a Bond movie. In a segment produced for the Discovery Channel, Jennings jumps out of one plane, sails through the air to catch up to another, and then makes a final dive from that second plane. While watching such a display of diving skill, it’s easy to overlook the flying prowess shown by both the birthing and receiving pilot. There’s a reason why moves like this are usually only seen in theaters, and that reason is called “CGI.” It’s truly incredible to appreciate it unfolding in real life.
Old School Rider
In case you needed another reminder that life was quite different in the 30s, here’s some footage of a daredevil at Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base literally riding a plane like a horse. It appears that the old time Adrenalist actually put a saddle on the back of the propeller airplane and rode it up what looks to be at least a hundred or so feet in the air. Say what you will about the extreme sports innovations of the 21st Century; BASE jumpers have nothing on this daring saddler.
Swiss Alps Heart Thumper
Imagine you’re climbing a mountain wall in the Swiss Alps and you’re thousands of feet above ground covered with skull-splitting rocks. The smallest slip could mean severe injury or death. Your mind is set on nothing but your next foothold. You’re completely in the zone. All of a sudden, you hear a faint buzzing in the distance. You write it off. Then, you see a plane and attribute the sound to its charging engine. The plane gets closer, and closer, and closer, until you think it’s going to smash into the very wall you’re scaling. You scream in panic. Then, as fast as it came, the plane vanishes up into thin air. Imagine that? You don’t have to, because it happened to the climbers in the video above.
Cover Photo Credit: Infomatique / Flickr.com