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"Rocket man" completes first one-man jetpack flight across Channel!!


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Rocket man completes first one-man jetpack flight across Channel


By Peter Allen

Last updated at 3:24 PM on 26th September 2008



As solo channel crossings go, it was one of the quickest. But then Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy had strapped himself to a jet-propelled wing and thrown himself out of a plane circling 8,000 feet above Calais.

In less than 10 minutes Rossy - who calls himself Fusionman - completed the 22-mile crossing to Dover and carved out an entry into the history books.

Soaring at more than 100mph over one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the 49-year-old landed in a field after deploying his parachute.

He told waiting reporter: 'It felt great, really great. I only have one word to all the people who helped me - thanks.'


article-1062649-02CF6E5D00000578-50_634x373.jpg Yves Rossy flies accross the Channel on his jet wing. Former Swiss Air pilot Yves Rossy crossed the English Channel tracing the route first flown by French aviator Loius Bleriot


Rossy, an airline pilot, traced the route of French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot who became the first person to fly across the Channel in a plane 99 years ago.

It was third time lucky for Rossy, who had to twice postpone the attempt earlier this week because of poor weather.


On Thursday, a late build-up of cloud in Dover hampered visibility and forced the second postponement but today Rossy enjoyed virtually cloudless skies.






'Fusionman' launches his bid from an aeroplane 2,500m above Calais

Inside the plane Rossy had exchanged 'high fives' with his crew before he balanced himself on a step thousands of feet above ground with his compressed wing strapped to his back.

Final checks were then carried out on his wing before his jets were fired up and he leapt from the aircraft and across the Channel.

Minutes later he came into view for the scores of watchers gathered on top of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Rossy completed a few loops in the sky beyond the landing site before making his descent and deploying his parachute and landing next to the South Foreland lighthouse.

Enlarge article-1062649-02CF75B500000578-138_306x464.jpg

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Coming in to land: Yves Rossy deploys his parachute after becoming the first man to fly across the English Channel using a jet-propelled wing

After landing with a bump, he waved and smiled as ambulance crews stood by.

The daredevil challenge by Rossy has led to him being compared to Superman and Buzz Lightyear, the computer-generated character from the animated film Toy Story.

Rossy reviewed safety measures before take-off in Calais, especially important as his jet-propelled wing needs to be ignited while still inside the plane.

He had never flown for longer than 10 minutes and his wing weight and measurements were precise, with even the addition of a tiny camera possibly affecting how long he could stay in the air.


article-1062649-02CF766900000578-167_634x391.jpg Record breaker: Yves Rossy of Switzerland stands up shortly after landing after his solo flight from France to England


In addition, weather conditions had to be perfect for him to fly long enough to complete the journey. A helicopter hovered nearby to capture images of him and he was equipped with a camera mounted on his 8ft-long wing.

Over the past few months, Rossy has been fine-tuning the wing's design and performance and carried out several test flights in wind tunnels and the Swiss Alps.

His wing weighed about 120lb with fuel and included four simple, kerosene-burning jet turbines to keep him airborne.

Created from a lightweight carbon composite, the wing had no steering devices, meaning Rossy had to use his head and back to control the wing's movement.

He was fitted with a special suit, helmet and parachute to protect him from the jet turbines mounted just inches from him on the wing.

Rossy faces a rapid return to reality on Monday when he goes back to work piloting a flight to Egypt with Swiss International Air Lines.


article-1062649-02CF7A0A00000578-512_634x347.jpg Mr Rossy is soaked in Champagne after landing at The South Foreland Lighthouse following his historic flight

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