It was quite a while ago that we first profiled Yves Rossy – the extraordinary birdman or Jetman as he is called, but the following video will show you that he hasn’t given up on his prototype and seems to be having a lot of fun – as I expect you would do if you were realising a dream!
Born in 1959, Yves Rossy, former military and commercial pilot, has dedicated his time to make his dream come true – to fly as naturally as possible. He has been addicted to flying since he was 13 years old when his parents took him to an airshow.
It was a natural step forward for him to experiment with wingsuit flying, but this still did not satisfy him. Although exhilarating, it has very little flying time. His dream was to be able to stay in the air for as long as possible and manoeuvre with the ease of a bird. And so he developed his first real wing, made of a rigid harness and inflatable wing panels, that he was to strap to his back. With this he hoped to exceed the performance of all other attempts at “falling forward” that existed at the time.
10 years of development followed and several experiments with different types of engines: in 2005 he was experimenting with 2 model jet engines which gave him a forward trajectory, but that was still too limited for him. By 2006 he had progressed to 4 engines which gave him the 3-D sensation… 10 minutes of flight and the ability to do what he wanted. 4 model jet engines, an altimeter for safety, and a tiny throttle control in his hand. That’s it. But his latest prototype is so successful that he doesn’t even feel the rigid wing strapped to his back so natural does it seem.
In May 2008 he came to the world’s notice with his first official flight over the Swiss alps. In September 2008 he successfully crossed the English Channel in 13 minutes. This amazing feat was broadcast live to 165 countries and widely covered by the worldwide press. He became a legend.
In November 2009 he attempted an inter-continental crossing between Morocco and Spain but had to ditch into the ocean because of bad weather. He intends to give this another go at the earliest opportunity.
And on 5th November, 2010 he created another world first. He successfully looped the loop around a hot air balloon flown by Brian Jones, winner of the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight in 1999. This is the first time that Rossy has been able to attempt acrobatics and it has been made possible with the design of his new wing – smaller (2m as against 2.5) and with no unfoldable parts. This new prototype, designed by Rossy and the RUAG Company, possesses a better aerodynamic profile and more stability.
“It was fantastic!” he said. “The flight went well, despite a little problem when starting my engines. I was able to do my two loopings and I am very happy!”.