Former Swiss fighter pilot, Yves Rossy, known as “Jetman” recently flew in formation with an Airbus 380 in Dubai with his famous jet pack. Born in Neuchatel, Switzerland in 1959, he previously flew for the Swiss military and as a commercial pilot for Swiss Air.
Recently, he and Frenchman Vince Reffet jumped from a flying helicopter and flew alongside an Emirates Airbus A380 cruising over Dubai. A video of their flight posted on YouTube a few days ago has already been viewed over 13 million times.
His first successful jet pack flight took place in 2004 near Geneva. He has completed more than 30 flights since then.
In May 2008, Rossy flew for six minutes over the town of Bex, Switzerland, not far from lake Geneva. Shortly after he flew over the Alps, and later the same year, he made a successful flight over the English channel. Leaping from a helicopter over Calais in France, he made it to England in under 10 minutes. He also attempted to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in 2009, aborting the flight when strong winds and cloud forced him to parachute to safety a few kilometres from the Spanish coast. Yves has also flown over the Grand Canyon.
In the TED video above he talks about his desire to fly like a bird and describes himself as “a pioneer in front of nature”. And he has the perfect answer for those who ask when he plans to design a two-seater.
The jet pack has rigid carbon-fiber wings spanning about 2 m with four small kerosene jet engines underneath them. Fully loaded with kerosene it weighs 55 kg. The jet pack has no steering mechanism. All steering is done by the pilot who acts as a human fuselage. For example, when the pilot arches his back he flies up.
Flights start with a high-altitude leap from a plane or helicopter. The engines are started before jumping and the wings finish opening while falling. According to Rossy he needs to closely control his arms, legs and head to avoid provoking an uncontrolled spin. In the event of a spin, the jet pack can be released, allowing the pilot and jet pack to descend on separate parachutes.