Remarkable People

Video: Eddie Braun jumps the Snake River Canyon in an Evel Knievel-style rocket bike

Video: Eddie Braun jumps the S...
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
View 42 Images
Evel Spirit: the launch area was fenced off for safety reasons
1/42
Evel Spirit: the launch area was fenced off for safety reasons
Evel Spirit: the Truax team checking over the rocket in the hours before the launch
2/42
Evel Spirit: the Truax team checking over the rocket in the hours before the launch
Eddie Braun climbs the ladder to get into the rocket bike
3/42
Eddie Braun climbs the ladder to get into the rocket bike
Evel Spirit: the landing site, as seen from the launch side of the canyon
4/42
Evel Spirit: the landing site, as seen from the launch side of the canyon
Eddie Braun poses for some photos in the Evel Spirit in the hours before the launch
5/42
Eddie Braun poses for some photos in the Evel Spirit in the hours before the launch
Eddie Braun prepares to jump the Snake River Canyon
6/42
Eddie Braun prepares to jump the Snake River Canyon
Final hugs for friends and family mambers
7/42
Final hugs for friends and family mambers
Eddie with surviving members of the Knievel family
8/42
Eddie with surviving members of the Knievel family
Eddie with surviving members of the Knievel family
9/42
Eddie with surviving members of the Knievel family
Eddie was present at the original Evel Knievel jump as a kid - he takes some time to chat with a young kid before the launch, eventually taking the kid's hat to do the canyon jump with him.
10/42
Eddie was present at the original Evel Knievel jump as a kid - he takes some time to chat with a young kid before the launch, eventually taking the kid's hat to do the canyon jump with him.
New Atlas's Loz Blain with rocket engineer Scott Truax
11/42
New Atlas's Loz Blain with rocket engineer Scott Truax
Rocket scientist and flying car proponent Dezso Molnar with New Atlas's Loz Blain
12/42
Rocket scientist and flying car proponent Dezso Molnar with New Atlas's Loz Blain
New Atlas's Loz Blain speaks with rocket engineer Scott Truax
13/42
New Atlas's Loz Blain speaks with rocket engineer Scott Truax
Ky and Buddy Michaelson, designers of the Evel Spirit's ballistic parachute system
14/42
Ky and Buddy Michaelson, designers of the Evel Spirit's ballistic parachute system
The Evel Spirit's rocket nozzle
15/42
The Evel Spirit's rocket nozzle
It was a long day in the lead-up to the jump - some spectators flaked out in the hot Idaho sun
16/42
It was a long day in the lead-up to the jump - some spectators flaked out in the hot Idaho sun
Stunt co-ordinator Mick Van Morson
17/42
Stunt co-ordinator Mick Van Morson
Eddie climbs the ladder in his fireproof suit
18/42
Eddie climbs the ladder in his fireproof suit
Eddie Braun waves to the crowd before the jump
19/42
Eddie Braun waves to the crowd before the jump
Eddie hops into the Evel Spirit for the jump
20/42
Eddie hops into the Evel Spirit for the jump
All is in readiness at the launch site
21/42
All is in readiness at the launch site
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
22/42
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
23/42
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
24/42
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
The drogue 'chute deploys, slowing the Evel Spirit from 430mph to around 200mph
25/42
The drogue 'chute deploys, slowing the Evel Spirit from 430mph to around 200mph
The main 'chute deploys, making for a soft landing
26/42
The main 'chute deploys, making for a soft landing
Eddie and the Evel Spirit float back to Earth
27/42
Eddie and the Evel Spirit float back to Earth
Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit float back to Earth
28/42
Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit float back to Earth
Mission accomplished!
29/42
Mission accomplished!
Evel Spirit: mission accomplished!
30/42
Evel Spirit: mission accomplished!
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
31/42
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
32/42
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
Idaho's Snake River Canyon
33/42
Idaho's Snake River Canyon
The Evel Spirit on the morning of the launch
34/42
The Evel Spirit on the morning of the launch
Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit before launch
35/42
Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit before launch
The ramp to eternity
36/42
The ramp to eternity
Eddie Braun in the Evel Spirit
37/42
Eddie Braun in the Evel Spirit
The Snake River team deliberately kept attendance low - crowds add an extra element beyond the stunt co-ordinators' control
38/42
The Snake River team deliberately kept attendance low - crowds add an extra element beyond the stunt co-ordinators' control
Cheeky Aussie stunt co-ordinator Mick Van Morson 'dacks' rocket engineer Scott Truax in front of the cameras
39/42
Cheeky Aussie stunt co-ordinator Mick Van Morson 'dacks' rocket engineer Scott Truax in front of the cameras
Photographer Joe Salas takes up position on the Snake River canyon
40/42
Photographer Joe Salas takes up position on the Snake River canyon
Eddie Braun shoots for the sky in the Evel Spirit
41/42
Eddie Braun shoots for the sky in the Evel Spirit
Eddie Braun floats to the Earth aboard the Evel Spirit, and into the history books
42/42
Eddie Braun floats to the Earth aboard the Evel Spirit, and into the history books

Stunt man Eddie Braun has achieved his childhood dream, successfully jumping the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in a treacherous steam-powered rocket bike. Completing Evel Knievel's dream and (we believe) setting a Guinness World Record in the process, Braun hit the button and launched himself over the canyon in a hissing rush of high-G acceleration that saw him hit speeds up to 430 mph (693 km/h) within a matter of 3-4 seconds. New Atlas was right there on site – here's some raw video of this extraordinary feat.

Eddie Braun jumps the Snake River canyon on a rocketbike

Sometimes, when you want something done right, you don't need a daredevil. You need a stunt man. Where Evel Knievel's rocket bike jump attempt in 1974 was underplanned, underfunded, undertested and underdone, Eddie Braun's team had this very dangerous stunt on lockdown. A peerless team of Hollywood stunt co-ordinators and rocket scientists oversaw the event and built a historically accurate but much safer Evel Spirit Skycycle, complete with a ballistic parachute system and hydraulic ram nosecone to soften the "lawn dart" style landing.

Eddie Braun climbs the ladder to get into the rocket bike
Eddie Braun climbs the ladder to get into the rocket bike

Braun didn't manage to raise enough money to fund the jump, so he dug into his own pocket to fund the jump attempt – to the tune of 1.5 million dollars. After more than 35 years as a stunt man, he was determined to retire with a bang.

And today, under perfect weather conditions near Twin Falls, Idaho, he did it. In front of a small crowd mainly comprised of family, friends, rocket scientists and the Hollywood stunt community, Braun was strapped into the Evel Spirit as it sat on a steep launch ramp. There was little fanfare and no messing about. Rocket engineer Scott Truax gave a countdown from five, Eddie thumbed his launch button, and the rocket did its fearsome thing.

A cutter sheared through the dog food can lids that were holding in 6,000 pounds per square inch of steam pressure, generated by a huge tank full of water superheated to over 450 degrees celsius. The ensuing release of steam launched Braun up that ramp so fast it was almost hard to follow, with some 6 Gs worth of acceleration over a 3-4 second blast.

The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam
The Evel Spirit rockets upwards, leaving a trail of steam

If Braun was to black out from the high-G acceleration, there were stunt co-ordinators both at the jump site and the landing area ready to remotely trigger the drogue 'chutes and main ballistic parachutes to bring him down safely – "that main 'chute will bring him down so soft," said Aussie stunt co-ordinator Mick Van Morson, "that he could land on his head without a helmet and be absolutely fine.

Meanwhile, as the Evel Spirit left the launch ramp and rocketed into the sky, spraying anyone within a 130-foot radius with a cooling shower of water, the rocket started to spin –a terrifying sight as Eddie spiraled upward to some 2200 feet above the launch site, not counting the deep drop into the canyon below.

But this wasn't an Evel Knievel production. "Evel Knievel was a daredevil. Eddie's a stunt man," I was assured by Deirdre, the partner of one of Braun's lead stunt co-ordinators. "Stunt men prepare, and plan, and lock it down, because they don't wanna die. He's got the best in the business working with him today."

As Braun almost disappeared from sight, the first drogue 'chute popped out to the cheers of the crowd, followed by the larger 'chute deploying right on time. The launch crew, meanwhile, were sprinting to the pickup truck to make a bolt for the landing site.

Eddie Braun floats to the Earth aboard the Evel Spirit, and into the history books
Eddie Braun floats to the Earth aboard the Evel Spirit, and into the history books

Braun touched down, unharmed, in a bean field on the other side of the canyon - overshooting the canyon wall itself by a long way, and even going well past his expected landing site. Within minutes we had confirmation on the radio: he's out of the rocket, in one piece and one happy camper. The final distance covered was 4728.9 feet (1441.3 m).

It was over in the space of a minute, history made and a dream achieved. A privilege to witness and a heck of a spectacle. Well done, Eddie. Well done, team. You knocked it right out of the park.

14 comments
Leonard Foster Jr
Awesome!!!
Martin Hone
Lucky Red Bull didn't get involved otherwise the budget would have been another $10 million and probably wouldn't have got off the ground due to all the Go Pro cameras hanging off it. Not to mention the months of pre-event promos ......
Rusty Harris
I want to see the footage from the quadcopter nearby.
SvenSterne
What´s the freaking point...?
habakak
What part of launching in a rocket and landing with a parachute is considered a jump? Totally laughable.
MarceloVignali
It's good to see this stunt fulfilled. Congrats Eddie.
DonaldVitez
You are one brave soul Eddie. Most people get white knuckled on a roller coaster as it begins the climb toward the top, trembling with fear and anticipation. You on the other hand, strapped yourself inside a rocket with much uncertainty as to whether or not you will survive. Wow, talk about an adrenaline rush!! Congratulations to you Eddie and your team, on this incredible accomplishment. Evel Kinievel was my hero growing up and I once broke my arm performing a stunt trying to be just like him. Ripped my lip off in another. Those were the days. You are an inspiration to all of us kids who grew up watching our hero Evel.
NeilosBarross
I'd like to say Evil would have been proud but I'd seen him witness great stunt riders flawlessly complete major jumps he couldn't & not seem particularly impressed so I see no reason it would have been any different here.
RobertMinter
What a sensless waste of human effort. Jumping over a gap achieve's what exactly?
Aross
I'm still looking for the bike?