Snake Jumping the River Canyon
Evel Knievel’s famous 1974 canyon jump attempt in a steam-powered rocket didn’t go to plan, but he managed to escape with his life
Behind the enclosed cockpit sits a titanium reinforced fibreglass and aluminium container holding 90kg of superheated steam.
The Skycycle reaches a speed of 200kph when it hits the 90m-long ramp, a speed it maintains for eight seconds after launch until all the steam is used up.
Almost immediately after leaving the launch ramp, the landing parachute deployed prematurely, causing the rocket to corkscrew to the right.
Steam is released through the main propellant valve to power the Skycycle’s acceleration to a top speed of over 560kph when in the air.
Falling Planned trajectory
In the planned stunt, the canopy was meant to blow once the Skycycle cleared the canyon, at which point two parachutes – one attached to Knievel and one attached to the rocket – would open.
intended landing site
With the parachutes open, Knievel and the Skycycle would have landed safely on the planned landing site.
crossing the canyon
While Knievel does make it across the canyon, the wind catches the chute and drags him back towards the gorge. With Knievel and the bike dangling down from the parachute, the Skycycle sinks to the bottom of the canyon, hitting the rocks. Knievel escapes alive.
“If you fall during your life, it doesn’t matter. You’re never a failure as long as you try to get up” – Evel Knievel (1938–2007)
The bravest of daredevils take their skills a step further by introducing fire into their tricks