Yves Rossy

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Yves Rossy
Yves Rossi mg 4625.jpg
Born (1959-08-27) 27 August 1959 (age 60)
Known forFirst person to fly a jet engine-powered wing
Aviation career
Full nameYves Rossy
Air forceSwiss Air Force

Yves Rossy (born 27 August 1959) is a Swiss military-trained pilot and an aviation enthusiast. He is known as the inventor of a series of experimental individual jet packs, the latest using carbon-fiber wings for flight. Often referred to as "Jetman", Rossy has sometimes tested and presented new versions of his jet packs in high-profile events staged around the world.

Early life and career[edit]

Rossy was born in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel in 1959. He served as a fighter pilot in the Swiss Air Force, where he flew Dassault Mirage IIIs, Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs, and Hawker Hunters. He piloted Boeing 747s for Swissair, and later for Swiss International Air Lines.[1]

Jet wingpack[edit]

Rossy developed and built a wingsuit system comprising a backpack equipped with semi-rigid aeroplane-type carbon-fiber wings—with a span of about 2.4 metres (7.9 ft)—powered by four Jetcat P400 jet engines,[2] modified from large kerosene-fueled model aircraft engines. This has led to him being referred to in the press by various monikers, such as The Airman, Rocketman, Fusionman, and—most commonly—Jetman.[3]

Developmental flights[edit]

Rossy's jet-powered wing

In December 2006 (in Bex, Switzerland) Rossy became the first to successfully fly horizontally for six minutes using four jet engines and wings strapped on his back. He was quoted as saying: "The idea is to have fun, not to kill yourself".[4]

Since 2007 Rossy has conducted some of his flight tests from a private airfield, Skydive Empuriabrava, in Empuriabrava (Girona, Costa Brava), Spain.[5][6]

In May 2008 Rossy made a flight over the Alps Mountain Range, reaching a top speed of 304 kilometres per hour (189 mph), and an average speed of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph).[7]

On 26 September 2008, Jumping from a Pilatus Porter at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) over Calais, France, Rossy crossed the English Channel with a single jet-powered wing strapped on his back, wearing only a helmet and a flight suit for protection. Reaching speeds of up to 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), he made the 22-mile (35-km) flight to England in 13 minutes, where he deployed his parachute and landed in Dover, UK becoming the first person to cross the Channel in this manner.[8]

In November 2009 Rossy attempted a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar, hoping to be the first person to fly between two continents using a "Jet pack". He leapt from a small plane about 1,950 m (6,500 ft) above Tangier in Morocco and headed in the direction of Atlanterra, Spain. The flight was expected to take about a quarter of an hour. Strong winds and cloud banks forced Rossy to ditch into the sea just three miles from the Spanish coast, where his support helicopter picked him up ten minutes later, unhurt. The Spanish Coast Guard retrieved the jetpack, which was equipped with a parachute and float.[9][10]

In 5 November 2010 Rossy flew a new version of his jet-powered flight system and successfully performed two aerial loops before landing via parachute. He had launched from a hot air balloon piloted by Brian Jones at 2,400 meters (7,900 feet).[11]

In 7 May 2011 Rossy flew above the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had classified his flight system as an aircraft. When it finally granted him a license, the FAA waived the normal 25 to 40 hours of flight testing time, and Rossy acted quickly to complete his flight.[12][13]

Latest media and event appearances[edit]

Rossy was featured on an episode of Stan Lee's Superhumans.[14] He has appeared on the BBC's Top Gear, where he raced Richard Hammond and Toni Gardemeister.[citation needed]

Rossy was a main attraction at the 2013 Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Fly-In, America's largest fly-in.[15][16]

Rossy was also featured (not in person) in the South Australian Primary School's Music Festival in 2014, when the theme of the Festival was flight. The song, 'Jetman', was written by Paul Jarman about Yves Rossy .[17]

October 2015 sustained flight[edit]

In 13 October 2015, Rossy and Vince Reffet, wearing jetpacks, deployed from a helicopter flying at 5,500 feet (1,676 meters) and flew in a choreographed demonstration with an Emirates Airbus A380 cruising at an altitude of 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) over Dubai.[18][19] The flights were documented by the use of helmet-mounted cameras and third-party videos released in early November 2015. The videos show the pair soaring and diving around the airliner, flying in formation with it for about ten minutes.[20]

A television program "City in the Sky, part 2"[21] about how airliner flights are run, showed at its start Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet flying with Rossy-type jetpacks, to show some principles of how airliners fly. It said that before being allowed to jetpack-fly in Britain, he had to get himself registered as an aeroplane, because parts of his body, rather than parts of his jetpack, acted as control surfaces; but he was exempted from the seat-belt rule. It showed him being lifted to flying height on the outside of a helicopter. He had to fall a distance to build up enough air speed for his airfoils to work.[22]


  1. ^ Jet Man Flies Across Channel On a Wing; 26 September 2008; article; James Randerson; The Guardian; accessed 25 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Official Jetman web page".
  3. ^ Jet Man; Jetman Official website; accessed March 2014.
  4. ^ "Bird? Plane? No, It's Jet Man". KNTV. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Yves Rossy, "Jet Man", l'home a reacció". TV3 Catalonia. 25 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Entrevistamos a Yves Rossy, el hombre pájaro en Skydive Empuriabrava". Vanity Fair. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  7. ^ Swiss 'Fusion Man' Flies Over the Alps with Jet-Propelled Wings; 15 May 2008 Fox News; accessed November 2015.
  8. ^ Ormsby, Avril (26 September 2008). "'Fusion Man' makes historic Channel flight". Reuters.
  9. ^ "Yves Rossy, 'Jetman,' Falls Into Sea Trying To Fly Between Continents". Huffingtonpost.com. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  10. ^ "BC News: Jetman Yves Rossy fails in Africa-Europe flight attempt". BBC News. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Découvrez les Vidéos de l Exploit de «Jetman»!". 20 minute video (in French). 11 November 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  12. ^ "'JetMan' Pulls off Grand Canyon Flight—Quietly". NBC News.
  13. ^ FAA: JetMan Can Fly Over Arizona's Grand Canyon; Deseret News; accessed March 2014.
  14. ^ Rocket Man—Stan Lee's Superhumans Archived 3 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Caulfield, Phillip (30 July 2013). "Swiss 'Jetman' Yves Rossy flies above Wisconsin alongside B-17 bomber". New York Daily News. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  16. ^ Good Day Wisconsin. Green Bay, Wisconsin. 31 July 2013. WLUK.
  17. ^ Jarman, Paul (2018). "Jetman". PaulJarman.com. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  18. ^ Was. Zur. Hölle.: YouTube-Star "Jetman" mit Irrem Airbus-Stunt
  19. ^ Video. Le vol Spectaculaire de Deux "Jetmen" aux Côtés d'un Avion de Ligne
  20. ^ James Trew (5 November 2015). "Watch Two 'Jetmen' Fly Alongside an A380 Superjumbo". www.engadget.com.
  21. ^ BBC TV 2, shown Sunday 12 June 2016 9pm to 10pm
  22. ^ City in the Sky, part 2

External links[edit]

External images
Yves Rossy
In flight