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FAA investigates 'plane swap' that failed during stunt in Arizona desert

By Ashley Williams

April 25 (UPI) -- Federal authorities say they are investigating an extreme aerobatic stunt in Arizona over the weekend in which two pilots tried to swap airplanes in mid-flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the maneuver, which occurred in the Arizona desert and was sponsored by Red Bull.

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The plane swap, billed by Red Bull as a world first, was supposed to feature the pilots emerging from their single-engine Cessnas and jumping onto the other plane and into the cockpit.

The stunt was supposed to happen at 14,000 feet in a tandem nosedive. Pilot Luke Aikins successfully made the swap. Pilot Andy Farrington did not. Farrington, however, parachuted to the ground safely and Alkins landed. The pilots, who are also skydivers, are cousins.

The stunt occurred just west of Eloy, Ariz., which is located about 50 miles southeast of Phoenix.

"The FAA will investigate Sunday evening's attempted Red Bull Plane Swap in Arizona," the FAA said according to NBC News.

The agency added that it denied organizers' request last week for an exemption to perform the stunt. FAA said it wasn't in the public interest to allow the event.

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