Yves Rossy

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Yves Rossy
Yves Rossi mg 4625.jpg
Full name Yves Rossy
Born (1959-08-27) 27 August 1959 (age 57)
Nationality Swiss
Aviation career
Known for First person to fly a jet engine-powered wing
Air force Swiss 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 wing-suit 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

Since 2007, Rossy has conducted some of his flight tests from a private airfield, Skydive Empuriabrava, in Empuriabrava (Girona, Costa Brava), Spain.[4][5]

In 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).[6][7]

Leaping from a helicopter 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, on 26 September 2008. Reaching speeds of over 125 miles per hour (200 km/hr), he made the 22-mile (35-km) flight to England in 13 minutes, completing it with a series of celebratory loops.[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]

On 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]

On 7 May 2011, Rossy reportedly 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. Reporters, who had been waiting nearby since the cancellation of the original scheduled flight—on the day before—were not informed. There were, therefore, no independent witnesses to document 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.

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

October 2015 sustained flight[edit]

On 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.[17][18] 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.[19]

A television program "City in the Sky, part 2"[20] about how airliner flights are run, showed at its start Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet flying in 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; 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.


  1. ^ Jet Man Flies Across Channel On a Wing; 26 September 2008; article; James Randerson; Guardian; accessed ???.
  2. ^ "Official Jetman web page". 
  3. ^ Jet Man; Jetman Official website; accessed March 2014.
  4. ^ "Yves Rossy, "Jet Man", l'home a reacció". TV3 Catalonia. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Entrevistamos a Yves Rossy, el hombre pájaro en Skydive Empuriabrava". Vanity Fair. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Rocketman Flies Over Alps with Jet-Pack Strapped to his Back; 15 May 2008; article with picture; "Mail Online;" accessed March 2014.
  7. ^ Swiss 'Fusion Man' Flies Over the Alps with Jet-Propelled Wings; 15 May 2008 Fox News; accessed November 2015.
  8. ^ Ravilious, Kate, "'Jet Man' Crosses English Channel Like a Human Rocket," nationalgeographic.com, 26 September 2008.
  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»!; 11 November 2010; 20 minute video; online; retrieved November 2015.
  12. ^ 'JetMan' Pulls off Grand Canyon Flight—Quietly
  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. ^ Was. Zur. Hölle.: YouTube-Star "Jetman" mit Irrem Airbus-Stunt
  18. ^ Video. Le vol Spectaculaire de Deux "Jetmen" aux Côtés d'un Avion de Ligne
  19. ^ Watch Two 'Jetmen' Fly Alongside an A380 Superjumbo
  20. ^ BBC TV 2, shown Sunday 12 June 2016 9pm to 10pm

External links[edit]

External images
Yves Rossy
In flight
Wing suit