Fusionman Flies Again, This Time Across the English Channel

Article written: 26 Sep , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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In May, Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy, who calls himself “Fusionman,” flew with a jetpack strapped to his back for just 5 minutes. Today he soared from France to England across the English Channel, becoming the first person to cross the 35 km (22 miles) body of water in such a way. Rossy, a pilot who normally flies an Airbus airliner, was dropped from an airplane over France and used his specially made jetpack, flying at speeds of up to 193 kph (120 mph) to make the crossing in 13 minutes. “Everything was perfect,” he said afterwards. “I showed that it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird.” See more images and video below.

The 22-mile flight from Calais to Dover took 10 minutes  (National Geographic/BSkyB)

The 22-mile flight from Calais to Dover took 10 minutes (National Geographic/BSkyB)

The 49-year-old Rossy, told the BBC the most tense moment was when he jumped from the aircraft “because I did have many problems during exits before.” He ignited the four kerosene-burning jets on the jetpack inside a plane before jumping out more than 2,440 meters (8,000 feet) above ground. He made a perfect exit and quickly set the correct course by aiming for the cliffs of Dover. After a period of free fall he opened the wing and soared across the water. With no steering controls, the only way to change direction was like a bird, moving his head and back.

About 15 minutes later Rossy parachuted towards his landing site near Dover after making the crossing  (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

About 15 minutes later Rossy parachuted towards his landing site near Dover after making the crossing (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

Rossy’s jet-powered wing, which spans eight feet, is made of lightweight carbon composite and weighs about 55 kg (120 lb) including fuel. Rossy has to wear a flameproof suit to help him withstand the jet exhaust around his legs.

When the white cliffs of Dover came into view, he opened a blue and yellow parachute and drifted down in light winds to land in a British field where he was mobbed by well-wishers.

The Swiss pilot Yves Rossy is sprayed with champagne near Dover after flying with jet-propelled wings across the Channel from France  (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

The Swiss pilot Yves Rossy is sprayed with champagne near Dover after flying with jet-propelled wings across the Channel from France (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

Rossy celebrated his flight with a champagne shower. He had postponed the flight twice earlier this week due to poor weather.

His future plans include flying over the Grand Canyon, taking off from a standing position on the ground and performing acrobatics.

Watch a video of his landing here.

Previous Universe Today article on Fusionman.

Sources: Reuters, Times Online


11 Responses

  1. NoAstronomer says

    This is like the dumbest thing I ‘ve seen all year. Incredibly dangerous, no practical value, a complete waste of valuable resources.

    In other words: Brilliant!!!

  2. Greg says

    Impressive, even for a madman like him.

  3. Maxwell says

    I always say if your going to go mad, do it thoroughly.

    He seems to have had everything planned and pulled the flight off flawlessly. Its an amazing display of what one can do with a garage workshop and enough motivation.

    He deserves a hearty congratulations.

  4. Curtis says

    Not Science Fiction any more. Got to love human imagination, and cult following. The two together will never cease to amaze. I agree with the one reporter. I definitely want one for Christmas. Are they taking orders? 😉

  5. alan says

    The question is will they be on the shelves by Christmas?

  6. Bob says

    Am I the only one who sees the military applications? Hmmm… maybe too much Call of Duty 4 😉

  7. me says

    I find it a bit disappointing that he did not take off from the ground but was dropped from an airplane …

    But nevertheless quite cool, a child’s dream come true! 🙂

  8. john says

    good on you rocketeer

  9. Kevin S says

    What a stunt! This will be emailed across the internet as much as Palin’s rifle-toting pose and other useless bits of trivia.

    I wonder how many trips to Hawaii could have been paid for with the cash outlay involved in making this happen.

    Nutty.

  10. LLDIAZ says

    I can just see it.
    The sun dims on a far off place they look up thinking its a cloud and behold a platoon of flying marines with m16’s and rpg’s raining down on them.
    Yeah I think too much call of duty 4 has knocked something loose too….

  11. Chuck Lam says

    A good first step!

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