Mike Hughes (daredevil)
|Born||c. 1956 (age 62–63)|
|Other names||Mad Mike Hughes|
|Known for||Amateur manned rocketry|
Hughes lives in California, where he makes US$15 per hour plus tips as a limousine driver. In 2002 he set a Guinness world record with a 103-foot (31 m) jump in a Lincoln Town Car stretch limo. According to the Associated Press, Hughes built his first manned rocket on January 30, 2014, and flew 1,374 feet (419 m) in just over one minute over Winkelman, Arizona. According to the CBC, Hughes collapsed after the landing and it took him three days to recover. Hughes stated that the injuries suffered from the flight put him in a walker for two weeks. Hughes has stated he plans to run for governor of California.
Flat-Earth rocket fundraising and launch
In 2016 Hughes launched a failed fundraising attempt for a rocket that earned $310. After professing his belief in a flat Earth later that year, Hughes gained support within the flat-Earth community. His post-flat-Earth fundraising campaign made its $7,875 goal. He has said he intends to make multiple rocket journeys, culminating in a flight to outer space, where he believes he will be able to take a picture of the entire Earth as a flat disk. He claimed in November 2017 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had given him verbal permission more than a year ago to launch his rocket, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration; however, a BLM spokesman said its local field office had no record of speaking to Hughes at the time. According to the BLM, after seeing some news articles about the planned launch, a BLM representative reached out to Hughes with concerns. The rocket launch was originally scheduled for the weekend of November 25, 2017; Hughes then rescheduled for December 2, 2017, blaming ongoing difficulties in obtaining permissions. Hughes moved his launch pad 4 miles (6.4 km) so that he could take off and land on private property; however, the BLM maintained he still needed to fill out permits. Hughes defiantly stated the dispute would not stop him flying: "I'm a daredevil. I'm not much for authority or rules."
The untested initial rocket was intended to reach a speed of 500 miles per hour (800 km/h); further rocket trips, to be launched from a balloon 20 miles (32 km) up, are intended to reach above the atmosphere into outer space. Hughes acknowledged there are risks, telling the Associated Press: "It's scary as hell. But none of us are getting out of this world alive." A fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the delay raised around $100 of its $10,000 goal. On February 3, 2018, Hughes live-streamed another attempted launch in front of spectators, but the rocket failed to ignite.
A successful launch on March 24, 2018, resulted in his reaching a height of 1,875 feet (572 m) and a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. The steam-powered rocket launched at a sharp angle to avoid falling back to Earth on public land, and landed about 1,500 feet (460 m) away from the launch point. Hughes' team reported a maximum speed of 350 mph. Hughes reported no serious injury from the landing.
Ian Whittaker of Nottingham Trent University has commented that a more feasible way to view the shape of the Earth is to send up a camera in a high-altitude balloon; if high up enough in the atmosphere, such a camera can see the curvature of the Earth.
In popular culture
Hughes appears in the music video for the Death Valley Girls' song "One Less Thing (Before I Die)". The video is directed by Kansas Bowling and features footage of his rocket launch in Apple Valley.
- Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith (27 November 2017). "Flat-Earther 'Mad' Mike Hughes forced to delay launch of homemade rocket". The Independent. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "'I Don't Believe In Science,' Says Flat-Earther Set To Launch Himself In Own Rocket". NPR.org. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Self-Taught Rocket Scientist Mad Mike Hughes Plans to Launch Over Ghost Town". NBC4 Washington. Associated Press. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "A flat-Earther's plan to launch himself in a homemade rocket has been postponed — again". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- ""Mad" Mike built a rocket so he can jump the Grand Canyon of Texas". Ars Technica. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Longest limousine ramp jump". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- Wang, Amy B.; Selk, Avi (24 November 2017). "A flat-Earther's plan to launch himself in a homemade rocket just hit a speed bump". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Self-taught rocket scientist 'Mad' Mike Hughes blasts off into California sky". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- "Flat-Earther's steam-powered rocket lofts him 1,875 feet up into Mojave Desert sky". latimes.com. Associated Press. 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- "Self-taught rocket scientist eyes new launch date in Calif". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- Dow, Mike (13 December 2017). "'Mad' Mike Hughes – limo driver turned rocket man". The Maine Edge. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- Selk, Avi; Wang, Amy B. (6 February 2018). "Analysis | A flat-earther finally tried to fly away. His rocket didn't even ignite". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- Chiara Giordano (25 March 2018). "Flat-earther blasts off in homemade rocket in bid to reassure himself world is shaped 'like a Frisbee'". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- "Why you don't need a rocket to prove the planet is round". Newsweek. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- Kamp, Justin. "Death Valley Girls Share Video for "(One Less Thing) Before I Die"". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
- "Death Valley Girls - "(One Less Thing) Before I Die" Video". Stereogum. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-12-25.