Eddie Braun has achieved his childhood dream, successfully jumping the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in a treacherous steam-powered rocket bike.
Eddie Braun, who worked on Avengers Assemble, made the 1,400ft (426m) jump as a tribute to Evel Knievel, who he says inspired his 30-year career as a Hollywood stunt performer.
He took off in his rocket, called “Evel Spirit”, and flew nearly 2,000ft in the air, clearing Snake River Canyon before floating back to Earth by parachute.
Knievel tried to make the same jump on 8 September 1974, but crashed when his parachute deployed early.
Although his rocket nearly landed in the river at the bottom of the canyon, Knievel escaped with minor injuries.
Braun’s rocket was designed by Scott Truax, whose father, Robert, built the original X-2 Skycycle which Knievel used in his attempt. It is powered by superheated steam, raised to a temperature of 260C, and cost $1.5m (£1.15m) to build.
“Why am I doing it? I met Evel Knievel as a small child and he inspired me so much when I met him,” Braun, 54, told Good Morning America, before the jump on Friday (16 September).
“I mean, this is a man with a cape, come on. I wanted to be like him and after 30 years of being a professional stuntman, what better way to finish out my career than to pay homage to the man that inspired me?”
Speaking before his attempt, Braun said that he had prepared his family and crew for the worst and left instruction to be followed in the event of his death.
“I want it all captured on film. If I’m smashed on the side of the canyon, OK, cover my puddle with something dignified, but film it,” he told GQ.
“The statement I make is equally as important as the actions that people see on the outside. In other words, if it were tragic, yeah, okay, that’s sad, but how tragic is it that I went after chasing something noble?
“How tragic is it that I went out doing as a stunt man the biggest stunt that one could dream of?”
Christopher B. Taub