Switzerland’s Yves Rossy, better known as Jetman or Fusionman, has achieved another aviation first by performing two aerial loops using his unique jet-powered strap-on wing. Rossy made headlines in 2004, when he first achieved horizontal flight with his original carbon fiber wing, flying 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) over the Alps. He created an even bigger fuss in 2008, when he used his wing to fly across the English Channel. Then, just last year, he got a bit wet when he unsuccessfully tried to fly from Morocco to Spain. Now, however, he can add another success to his growing list.
For his latest effort on November 5, Rossy used a new, improved wing, designed by himself and the RUAG aerospace company. With a wingspan of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), it’s half a meter shorter than his previous wing, and offers an improved aerodynamic profile and more stability. Its four Jet-Cat P200 engines are each capable of 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs) of thrust, allowing for an average speed of 200kph (124mph), and an average powered flight time of ten minutes.
At 9:45am, the wing-wearing Rossy ascended to 2,400 meters (7,874 feet) over the Swiss region of Denezy, in the basket of a hot-air balloon piloted by British balloonist Brian Jones. He then turned on the wing’s four jet engines, jumped off his basket platform, and began free flight. After taking a few minutes to get his wing stabilized and to acquire the right angle, he performed two loops in front of the balloon. He steered the wing using nothing but his own body movements.
After completing the loops, he shut off the engines, deployed his parachute, and safely landed in a field. “It was fantastic!” he said upon landing. “The flight went well, despite a little problem when starting my engines. “I was able to do my two loopings and I am very happy!”