You know what they say: Shoot for the stars because if you fall, you’ll land among the stars. Of, if you’re Jay Leno, simply crawl out of a flying airplane and that should get you some laughs.
The TV personality, who’s well known for his love of cars, is apparently equally enthusiastic about vehicles in the sky. Leno, who is 71, performed a risky stunt atop a Grumman HU-16 Albatross flying over the Pacific Ocean, crawling out of its nose and dangling off its hood.
In a video of the daring feat, captured and shared by spodcaster Spike Feresten, Leno is seen climbing out of the plane’s jet in his token denim shirt as the pilot and passengers are heard laughing with glee.
Whilst dangling from the aircraft, the former “Tonight Show” host gave onlookers a thumbs up, then seemingly emulated some sort of beast, comedically clawing at the hood. The onlookers’ laughter ensued as Leno gently lowered himself back into the plane — which was soaring at whopping 147 miles per hour (or 236 kilometres per hour).
Later, Feresten asked the comedian about the stunt on Spike’s Car Radio podcast. Leno clarified that it was indeed “a real airplane,” and that the stunt was meant to be a funny surprise. “The nose opens from the inside, so I climbed out ... in the air,” he said, adding that he had been soaring over the coast of California when he thought to startle his fellow passengers with the antic.
“They didn’t know the front of the plane opens, so I went up to the front and then climbed up on the windshield,” he said, adding the alarming fact that he wasn’t tied to the plane at all during the experience — it was really just him hanging on.
When Feresten asked why Leno would do something so dangerous, the comedian laughed and said, “just being stupid.”
“You’re actually okay,” Feresten said in reply. “It’s not that bad.”
As noted earlier, Leno is an avid transportation vehicle enthusiast — and actually has a specific affinity for automobiles “powered by aircraft engines.” In June, the entertainer told Air & Space Magazine about his extensive collection — containing a 1934 Rolls-Royce Merlin and a 1921 Benz-Mercedes — that “there’s no such thing as too much power or torque.”