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During the past 15 years, Yves “Jetman” Rossy has strapped on his jetpack — carbon fiber wings powered by four small engines — to conduct many heart-stopping stunts. The former Swiss Air Force pilot has soared across the Grand Canyon, circled Japan's Mt. Fuji and even flown alongside the world's largest commercial airplane, the Airbus A380. On November 25, the daredevil upped the ante when he and protégés Vince Reffet and Frédéric ‘Fred’ Fugen, flew in formation with eight Alpha Jets from the Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatics demonstration team of the French Air Force.
While the three men made it look easy, the stunning nine-minute flight above Saint-Christol in France was not for the faint of heart. For one, the human pilots, who ventured as close as 15 feet to the Alpha Jets, were flying at a speed of 165 mph, much faster than their standard 115 mph. There was also the issue of coordinating their movements with the eight Alpa Jets, the two helicopters that dropped them, a stunt plane and two military aircraft that were filming the historic event. Given that the human fliers were using just their body movements to remain in perfect formation, the feat required extreme concentration.
Though thrilled at the success of this incredible flight, Rossy, Reffet, and Fugen, are not ones to rest on their laurels. The three Jetmen are busy working on their next adventure, a stunt so daring that they are keeping it a secret until the summer — so stay tuned!
Resources: newatlas.com, redbull.com