Jetman Yves Rossy gets up close and personal with Breitling Wingwalkers
By Darren Quick
July 5, 2010
We last checked in with Jetman Yves Rossy late last year when his attempt to complete the first intercontinental jetpack flight from Morocco to Spain unfortunately fell short. However, that setback hasn’t deterred Rossy, who has spent the time since developing and testing a fast extracting pyrotechnic parachute and a lighter and more powerful jet-propelled wing. The new “delta wing” is designed to allow take-off from the ground and provide more freedom to realize aerobatic maneuvers, which no doubt came in handy on his latest airborne undertaking – performing some precision formation flying alongside the Breitling Wingwalkers.
Rossy realized his first flight in formation with two other aircraft at the Breitling Flying days in Buochs, Switzerland. After jumping out of a Pilatus PC-6 at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,483-feet), Rossy made his way down to two Boeing Stearman wingwalker biplanes, which were waiting for him at an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,280-feet). Showing off his formation and precision flight abilities, Rossy flew alongside the Breitling Wingwalkers for more than six minutes separated by distances of only a few meters. Quite a feat considering Rossy steers using his body.
Pioneering Rossy is also the first man to fly across the English Channel using a home-made jet-powered wing, but rest assured, he won’t be resting on his laurels. He is working on a new opening system for his parachute that should provide a greater spectacle for the public. His current parachute is opened at 800 meters (2,625-feet), but Rossy says a new pyrotechnical system, based on a rocket which will extract the parachute at lightning speed, should improve safety and allow him to fly as low as 200 meters (656-feet).
He also hopes his new delta wing will allow him to perform loop the loops and aims to eventually fly in formation with several wings worn by friends.