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 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.
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.
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.