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Here’s Jay Leno, 71, Hanging Off the Nose of a Flying Plane Just Like Tom Cruise

Depending on who you ask, Jay Leno is a decent comedian, an ok TV star, and an author well worth the money you pay for his books. There is no debating, though, that he’s a very popular and experienced car guy, who can run circles around most other passionate car collectors out there.
Jay Leno appears to be hanging off the nose of a plane in mid-flight, but he's only standing through a hatch 6 photos
Jay Leno appears to be hanging off the nose of a plane in mid-flight, but he's only standing through a hatchJay Leno appears to be hanging off the nose of a plane in mid-flight, but he's only standing through a hatchJay Leno appears to be hanging off the nose of a plane in mid-flight, but he's only standing through a hatchGrumman Albatross, the plane that allowed Jay Leno to pull off his viral stuntJay Leno, before the plane stunt
Who would have thought that Jay Leno is also a bit of a daredevil? Sure enough, there’s some risk to his side business, that of buying and restoring old cars and classics, and collecting them, but it’s not actually life-threatening. So, who would have thought Leno and Tom Cruise, Hollywood’s most famous action movie star right now, have in common this desire to cheat death, notably by hanging off – and hanging on for dear life on – flying planes?

A video of Leno apparently doing that emerged online this week. It was posted on Instagram by podcast host and TV writer Spike Feresten, according to TMZ, and it showed a seemingly daunting stunt: as the plane flew, Leno emerged from down below, ahead of the cockpit, holding on to the nose of the plane. Understandably, it seemed like a near-impossible stunt for a 71-year-old man, let alone for one like Leno, whose favorite workout mostly involves scouring the wardrobe to find the two denim pieces that match identically.

As it turns out, the stunt wasn’t as insane as it seemed, and Leno is the first to set the record straight, both on Feresten’s podcast, which he later appeared on, and in a chat with Entertainment Tonight. To the latter media outlet, he tells he had no idea that the plane, which was flying at a low altitude but a speed of 148 mph (238 kph) off the coast of Catalina Island, had a hatch on the nose. Leno wasn’t technically hanging off the plane, as he was standing up through the hatch, looking out. It’s like when you pop open the car’s sunroof and stand out through it, but higher.

“My friend said, ‘The front of the plane opens,’ so I opened the front and then came out and crawled out on the front of the plane,” Leno says, adding that he wasn’t tethered. For the record though, the video does show a chord that runs across the nose of the plane and he’s holding onto it. “The force of the plane going forward was keeping me there. You don't plan something like that. You can't plan it, or else someone will stop you if you planned it.”

As for the plane in question, more details on it come from Feresten’s social media: it’s a 1951 Grumman HU-16 Albatross, described as an airsea rescue flying boat, because it’s an amphibious plane. It was introduced in 1949 and retired in 1995, during which time was mostly used in search and rescue missions.

One of the Instagrams embedded below shows a better look at this hatch, which opens right ahead of the cockpit. Standing through it isn’t as dramatic as it looks from the cockpit video, but Leno welcomes the Tom Cruise comparison nonetheless.






 
 
 
 
 

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