Eddie Braun Says Snake River Canyon Jump ‘Is On’
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – When Eddie Braun attempts to jump the Snake River Canyon, tentatively set for some time this weekend, an autograph of his hero will be in the cockpit with him.
“Happy Landings,” it reads. It is signed by Evel Knievel.
Braun, a Hollywood stuntman who said Kneivel became his hero long ago, says if all goes well with weather and mechanics he will attempt the canyon jump sometime between Friday and Sunday.
“We’ve got a window that we’re trying to narrow,” he said.
Braun on his planned attempted Snake River Canyon jump: 'It’s a love letter to my kids.… The statement will outlast my life.'
Braun held his first press conference on Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twin Falls, where he discussed the planned jump and why, in the end, he’s doing it – but he was vague about when, exactly, the jump would take place.
“Weather and wind are a big deal,” said stunt coordinator Gary Davis.
They want to make sure the jump takes place in conditions safe for the attempt – as safe as you can be while strapped inside a rocket that launches at g-force speeds, anyway.
If there is no wind and the temperatures are moderate, there’s a good chance the jump will take place either Friday or Saturday. Braun said he’d prefer not to do it on Sunday, if he can help it.
“I am going to attempt it,” he said. The jump “is on as much as I can possibly make it.”
But Braun’s team also doesn’t want crowds gathering on the streets and in the fields to watch the jump. The event will take place on private property east of the Hansen Bridge. Only around 500 paid ticket holders are invited to the launch. His attorney, Paul Arrington, said they’ve made local law enforcement aware of their plans and police will keep an eye on the roads to make sure people do not illegally park or cause traffic hazards.
Those who wish to see the launch but do not have a ticket will have the chance, albeit at a later date and on video.
Team member Steve Golebiowski said they originally wanted a national network contract, but when that didn’t happen they decided to document the jump – and the work leading up to it – by using a professional film crew. At least 12 cameras will be used during the jump, including cameras inside Braun’s rocket and on drones. After the jump, a film will be cut and eventually distributed.
“It’s a $1.6 million stunt sequence,” Golebiowski said. “We’re going to give a vantage point that television can’t offer.”
Braun, who will be launched in a rocket similar to the X-2 Skycycle Knievel used for his September 1974 Snake River Canyon jump, says he’ll be thrust into the air at more than 430 mph. He’ll launch at an angle from the Jerome side of the canyon and, if all goes well, will land on property in Twin Falls County.
One of the factors in Braun landing safely is him initiating the rocket’s three parachutes in proper sequence. He says he’s marked the levers in a color sequence easy for him to remember – red, white and blue.
The rocket is expected to spin while in the air, and reach an altitude of some 2,000 to 3,000 feet. At such high speeds in a blast that is expected to last about 3.9 seconds, there’s a chance Braun could pass out. When asked if the chutes could be remotely activated, Braun said the mechanism hasn’t been tested.
Braun has spent $1.6 million of his own money to make the attempted jump a reality. It hasn’t been an easy road, he said. There's been a lot of emotion and frustration involved, from a local councilman calling his ambition a junior varsity attempt, he said, to turning down television contracts because he wanted to “do this my way.”
In the end, he aims to leave a legacy for himself and in honor of the his daredevil hero. To him, it's more than just a stunt.
“I may go broke over this,” he said. “But the statement I make is my statement. … This is my money, my rocket and my rules.”
What is the statement he’s trying to make, especially knowing he’s risking his life in the attempt?
It’ll be the thrill of a lifetime to fly in a rocket – “how cool is that?”– but more than anything “it’s a love letter to my kids,” he said, noting it will show them that they can accomplish the nearly impossible. “It’s something I can’t quantify. … The statement will outlast my life.”