Swiss Adventurer Yves Rossy, also known as Jetman or Fusionman, made history this morning by flying across the English Channel with just a jet-propelled wing on his back. Yves, who had to postpone the flight twice this week due to bad weather, soared across the skies at about a 100 mph on a beautiful fall afternoon, completing the 22-mile journey in just 13 minutes.
The historic flight, sponsored by the National Geographic, started at 1.06 pm, when Rossy, suited with a parachute, helmet and a special fire-proof suit, jumped from a plane 8,000 feet above the French Coast, with his folded wings attached to his back. Within 10 minutes, propelled by the four mini-jets attached to his 8-ft carbon wings, Rossy reached his destination over the White Cliffs of Dover. In fact his flight went so well that he even delighted the large crowd who had gathered to cheer him, with a few acrobatic loops before starting his descent with a parachute.
Rossy, a former fighter pilot, invented the jet-engine wings himself. It basically comprises of an airplane-type carbon-fiber wings that span about 8-ft. Attached to that are four-small kerosene burning engines, similar to the ones used in model airplanes. The wings, which fold at the hinges, open up as Rossy jumps from the plane. He then uses his body and a hand throttle to maneuver his flight.
Rossy started flying in 2006 and has since then completed several successful flights in his native Switzerland. However, most of his flights have been for a duration of ten minutes or less, making today's flight from Calais, France to Dover, England his longest ever. By crossing the English Channel, Rossi was tracing the route of French pilot Louis Bleriot, who was the first person to ever fly across the English Channel in a plane, 99 years ago.
Rossy, who was thrilled at the success of this flight, hopes that one day he will have a team of Jetmen performing for an audience, similar to the Blue Angels in the USA and Red Arrow's in the United Kingdom. What's next? Well on Monday it's back to his regular job as a pilot for Swiss Airlines - Unfortunately even Jetmen have to work for a living!
sources: Telegraph.co.uk, Dailymail.co.uk, Wikipedia.org