On May 7th, 2011, 51-year old Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy made headlines when he flew over the Grand Canyon with his world-famous jet-propelled wings strapped to his back. While Rossy or Jetman, as he is often called, has used the wings to soar across the European skies, this was his first foray in the USA.
The flight, which had been in the works for two years, was originally scheduled for Friday, May 6th. However, despite the fact that a large number of fans and media had gathered to watch him, the adventurer felt he was not ready and decided to postpone the event.
Luckily, that feeling did not last too long and he was back in the game the following day. Launching off from a helicopter that was hovering at a height of 8,000 feet, with just his wings attached to his back, Mr. Rossy flew westward from Eagle Rock and traversed the rim of the Canyon, at an impressive speed of 190mph.
Flying at an altitude of about 200ft. Rossy remained airborne for eight minutes before deploying his parachute and landing gracefully on the canyon floor - One more dream checked off from his bucket list.
Rossy, a former fighter pilot has been developing and refining his jet-propelled wings for over 15 years. While he initially flew with inflatables, the latest version that spans about 8-ft. are made from airplane-type carbon fiber. They are powered by four Jet-Cat P200 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.
This is not the first high-profile flight that the Swiss adventurer has successfully completed. In 2008, he made headlines after he flew across the English Channel. He has even performed some amazing stunts and attempted to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. We wonder where he will soar to next!
Resources: Washingtonpost.com,swissinfo.ch, christiansciencemonitor.com