Yves Rossy always said he would cross the English Channel and now he has. What makes this journey special is that the Swiss inventor made the trip by taking flight using his very own jet-propelled wing.
Rossy, a former military pilot who is also known as "Fusion Man," made the 35.4-kilometer (22 mile) flight in less than 10 minutes. The adventure began when Rossy boarded a plane at the Marck airfield near Calais, France. Once the aircraft reached 2,500 meters (8,800 feet) he fired up the jets on his wing and leaped out, making the cross-channel trip to a field near Dover.
The 49-year-old had been forced to cancel the trip twice this week due to bad weather but on Friday the conditions were just right. "It was perfect," he told reporters after the flight. "Blue sky, sunny, no clouds, perfect conditions. We prepared everything and it was great."
As he approached British soil he looped over onlookers before opening his parachute with the wing still strapped to his back. Rossy wore a heat-resistant suit similar to that worn by firefighters and racing drivers to protect him from the heat of the turbines. The cooling effect of the wind and high altitude also prevented him from getting too hot.
The wing used by Rossy spans 2.4 meters (8 feet), is made of lightweight carbon composite and weighs about 55 kilograms (120 pounds) including fuel.
The Swiss inventor had wanted to emulate the French aviator and inventor Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the English Channel 99 years ago. That trip took 37 minutes.
smd -- with wire reports
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