It’s the ultimate fan tribute and now – for the first time ever – a so-called ‘Sky Cycle’ rocket has been fired across the Snake River canyon in Idaho, the only time the stunt has ever been completed since it was invented by Evel Knievel.
Professional stuntman Eddie Braun made the jump as a tribute to his boyhood idol, Knievel.
The rocket, called ‘Evel Spirit’ launched off a steep ramp on the edge of the canyon rim just before 4pm as hundreds of onlookers watched.
The rocket reached an estimated 400mph before its parachute deployed, allowing Braun and the ship to land safely in fields on the other side of the 1,400 foot-wide canyon.
“I feel like the no name third string quarterback of a junior varsity team that just won the Super Bowl. My team got me there. I ran it into the end zone. We scored and won,” Braun said after the jump.
Scott Truax, the designer of the rocket and the son of the original rocket’s designer, Bob, told the Idaho Statesman that after Braun got the OK to launch he didn’t hesitate.
“He was gone in a cloud of steam and I couldn’t see anything until just before he pulled his chutes,” Traux said.
The rocket used for this attempt is identical to the model Knievel used for his failed canyon flight in 1974. Back then, Knievel landed at the bottom of the canyon when his parachute prematurely deployed partway across the canyon, the legend walking away with only minor injuries.
Braun hoped his effort would prove that Knievel could have made it across the canyon if his parachute had deployed at the correct time.
Before the jump, the 54-year-old Braun said he was optimistic he would make it across the canyon. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought it couldn’t be done,” he said.
“I like to say I’m not doing something that Evel Knievel couldn’t do,” he told the Statesman before making the jump. “I’m simply finishing out his dream. How many people get to finish the dream of their hero?”