London (England) – Sure the English Channel has been crossed before, but Yves Rossy is the first person to do it with a rocket pack. The self-proclaimed 49-year-old “Fusion Man” jumped out of an airplane over Calais France and covered 22 miles in 13 minutes while suspended on a composite wing. Rossy rocketed at 120 MPH thanks to the help of four kerosene-powered jet turbines affixed to the wing. He landed safely near the famous White Cliffs of Dover in England.
Rossy, a full-time Ailrbus A320 pilot, knows a thing or two about flying, but his self-made contraption probably makes him the envy of all his friends. The rocket kit is basically an jet-assisted glider with an 8-foot wingspan. For this journey, Rossy hitched a airplane ride to 8000 feet and then jumped out. To make it out of the exit chute, he had to carefully hobble out – as you can see in the video. The engines are ignited while still in the plane and Rossy wore a flame-resistant suit to protect his back and legs against the engine blast.
Rossy’s flight across the English Channel was a modern day attempt to recreate Louis Bleriot’s historic flight in 1909. Bleriot was the first person in history to fly across the channel. What makes Rossy’s flight a big deal is that he had no onboard instruments and two previous attempts earlier this week had to be postponed because of poor visibility. Additionally, there are no control surfaces on the wing and he steers by tilting his head and shifting his body.
Not content with crossing the English Channel, Rossy now plans on flying the Grand Canyon.