Jetman Yves Rossy Flies Over Wisconsin In US Air Show Debut

Jetman Yves Rossy flew over Wisconsin next to a B17 bomber using nothing but the jetpack strapped to his back — and a specially designed flying suit.

The contraption allows Rossy to travel at more than 150 miles an hour. The stuntman typically launches the contraption, called the jetwing, from a helicopter and uses a parachute to land when all the fun is over.

The Jetman made his first public US flight in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Tuesday afternoon, reports The Northwestern. And he didn’t disappoint.

Spectators like Jonathon Gaskill, who likely dreamed of being a one-man flying machine when they were growing up, were in awe. Caskill commented, “It was awesome. I wonder how it felt when he was going through the clouds and flying so fast? I was thinking he’s crazy.”

But for Yves Rossy, the experience is a dream 18 years in the making. The 53-year-old fighter pilot and skydiver came up with the idea for the jetwing while free falling. He commented:

“We want to be birds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. We don’t have feathers… I wanted to just be a free flyer. That’s really the goal — nothing between me and air.”

The Wall Street Journal notes that Yves’ jetwing is made of carbon-Kevlar composite and boasts four jet engines, each of which puts out about 49 pounds of thrust.

While a hand-held throttle controls the engines, Yves Rossy uses his body to maneuver the machine. He climbs, descends, and steers himself by moving his shoulders, legs, and other body parts.

The Jetman has flown over the United States before, but never for a public US airshow. Rossy did a demonstration for reporters on Monday, the day before the show, by flying in formation with a B17 bomber. Along with Monday and Tuesday’s performances, he is scheduled to fly on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Rossy’s innovation currently exceeds aviation regulations, which sometimes makes it difficult for him to get airtime in. Because of this, the Jetman had to register himself as an aircraft, something that apparently didn’t agree with him. He commented. “It’s said that to fly you need a license. No. You need wings. That’s the kind of spirit we have.”

While Yves Rossy continues to live his dream as a one-man flying machine, the rest of us must be content to sit on the ground and watch — at least for now. Would you consider using Rossy’s contraption to fly?

[Image by Rama via Wikimedia Commons]

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