In what must surely be a contender for the most mental idea ever, this American dare-devil has announced a plan to jump across the border between the US and Canada strapped to a home-made, steam-powered rocket.
Michael Hughes, aka “Mad Mike”, whose day job is driving limos in California, told a local radio station: “[I want] to jump this thing right over the St. Lawrence River. We would reach an altitude of 600 feet, about 350 miles an hour, and come down by a parachute and land on Ogden Island, one mile away.”
It’s like you saw Wile E. Coyote stand in front of a rocket, remember? And light a fuse…
It might sound completely hair-brained, but Mad Mike is apparently completely serious – he’s currently applying for permission from the local authorities, with the aim of sending himself skywards on 30th May this year.
In fairness the 58-year-old has previous when it comes to such crazy ideas.
In 2002 he drove a “fully street-legal” limousine off a massive ramp, sailing 103 feet and breaking his back in the process. However he also broke the record for the world’s longest limo jump, and looks back at the stunt as a success.
Last January he decided to go one step further, building a steam-powered rocket and firing himself 1,374 feet across the Arizona desert – another record.
“It was the ultimate Wile E. Coyote stunt,” he told North Country Public Radio. “It’s like you saw Wile E. Coyote stand in front of a rocket, remember, and light a fuse? That’s what I did!”
While the hapless cartoon character might not seem an obvious choice of role-model, he’s not the only ill-fated dare-devil Mike admires.
His latest stunt will emulate an attempt by Canadian Ken Powers to make the same leap in a rocket-powered car – which ended in a predictably Wile E. Coyote-esque outcome.
Despite the first choice driver pulling out and a warning from Evel Knievel himself that the stunt “wouldn’t work”, Powers persevered.
Unfortunately, despite the addition two really shit, stubby wings, Powers’ Lincoln Continental Powers proved to lack the necessary aerodynamic profile for rocket-powered flight (who’d have thought it?) and it broke up soon after take-off. Powers was lucky to escape with eight broken vertebrae.
So what measures has Mike put in place to ensure that history won’t repeat itself? Well, he said in the radio interview, “there’s no safety harness. There’s no safety net.”
“There’s nothing like climbing into a homemade rocket and careening through the air to make you feel alive.”
“But you cannot live in your house or your apartment with your arms wrapped around you like nothing’s going to happen to you because man, that is no way to live life and I don’t think we’re supposed to live life that way.”
Which is fair enough, although we’d imagine his mum wasn’t particularly reassured…
But hey, as he puts, it: “There’s nothing like climbing into a homemade rocket and careening through the air to make you feel alive.”
*at least that’s the plan…
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