Skydiving without a parachute - how does it work?


Very few people would voluntarily jump out of a plane without a parachute, but that's exactly what Luke Aikins did in the California desert on Sunday (NZ time).

The American skydiver pulled off the stunt on live television.

Here's a look at just how impressive his feat was:

However, other divers have gone much faster. The speed record belongs to Felix Baumgartner who, four years ago, jumped at 39,000 metres and reached more than 1300km/h.

To not land in a "splat", Aikins aimed for a net suspended off the ground measuring just 30m square. That's less than a third of the size of the field at Eden Park - a target he had to hit starting at more than 7500m up.

Without a parachute, Aikins used his body to steer through the air.

He also had what he described as "a varation on an airport light system", with lights set up around the net that shone white if he was on target.

But after two minutes he actually pulled it off, much to the delight - and relief - of his wife and four-year-old son watching.