Yves Rossy (a.k.a. Jetman) gives new meaning to the word "wingsuit." While most of the stories we've done on wingsuits involve daredevils jumping from a high precipice in a specialized suit that looks similar to that of a flying squirrel, the wingsuit used by Jetman is a high-powered jet-pack with wings.
In 2006, Jetman, formerly a Swiss pilot, claims to have become the first man to fly with a "jet-propelled wing" such as this. According to the Daily Mail, he has since crossed the English Channel, the Grand Canyon and Lake Geneva using this technology. Like more "traditional" wingsuit athletes, Jetman does jump off from a high point and jet motors sustain his trip in the air until he uses a parachute to return back to solid ground.
In his latest endeavor, Jetman conducts a test flight in the Swiss Alps -- again -- reaching speeds of up to 125 mph, according to the Daily Mail. Check it out:
His website has more background on how he made these dreams come true:
Yves has always dedicated all his free time to flight and experimented all its forms. His dream was however to try to fly in the most natural way possible, by removing the need for the complicated enclosure an aircraft is. He was therefore drawn to the world of free fall, and experimented by trial and error all ways that could allow him to stay longer in the air and control his trajectory, to turn a fall into a flight: sky surf, wingsuit. Still not satisfied, he developed his first real wing, made of a rigid harness and inflatable wing panels, that he was to strap to his back to exceed the performance of all other attempts at “falling forward” that existed at the time.
The next step was naturally to gain total freedom by making the whole wing rigid and adding engines. Yves chose to go with model jet turbines, at first 2 of them, which allowed him to just hold level flight in 2005, and then 4 to finally conquer the 3rd dimension in 2006 – not within an enclosed space with mechanical controls and instruments, but by truly flying like a bird for 10 minutes at a time, with nothing but his body and feelings, floating like if the wing was a natural part of his body, so much that he doesn’t even feel it in flight. This was finally the reward of 10 years of development and more than 15 prototypes. All he has is an altimeter for safety, and a tiny throttle control in his hand.
You may be feeling a bit skeptical, because we've heard similar sentiments before about making one's dream of flying come true. Recently, the project known as "Human Birdwings" that detailed a man's endeavors creating a set of wings that would allow him to flap his arms and fly like a bird all turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Read more about those stories on the Blaze here.
Jetman's four jet motors though do in fact keep him in the air for a significant amount of time. During his stint over the Grand Canyon, Jetman even had to get proper certification for the flight from the FAA.
Check out Jetman's other videos here.