Yves Rossy, recently achieved a landmark which went largely unheralded. Rossy’s feats might well go down among the most daring as well as momentous in aviation history. Check out these amazing photos.
The former military pilot, 45, who flies Airbuses for Swissair, spent five years developing his wings for his flying man project but went one better with his ‘jet-man’ project by adding two kerosene-powered jet engines to his original wing design to become the first man to fly like a bird: horizontally.
At 7:30pm on June 24, 2004 Rossy dropped from 4000m over the Yverdon airfield. After opening the wings, he glided to 2500m, ignited the engines and waited 30 seconds for them to be able to stabilize and begins to open the throttle. At 16m, he achieved horizontal flight for more than 4 minutes at 100 knots (115 mph).
Because there was a loss of rigidity due to the inflatable side of the wings, Yves had to stop his collaboration with "Prospective Concepts", who made the original design, and work only with "ACT Composites" who then created foldable carbon wings, able to be used from a Pilatus Porter plane.
These new wings were tested quite a few times with different weights on them so as to see how and where the kerosene port and engines would be placed.
Many simulations were tested before being able to fix on the real engines and most importantly before being ignited.
"It would be a great device for James Bond so he can go behind enemy lines," he said. He also holds a record for dangling from the wing of a biplane, and lists his hobbies as "bare-foot water-skiing, wakeboard, hydro-speed, delta flying and paragliding, snowboarding and aerobatic flying". In 2002 Yves contacted the worlds leading model jet engine Company, "Jet-Cat", based in Germany.
A test team was taken up in a Pilatus Porter so that fine-tuning could be made until the engines worked perfectly at high altitude. Once all ignition tests had been done at ground level, the real thing was ready to be done, but like all prototype experiments, success is certainly not guaranteed on the first trial.
After running in to turbulence Yves cut off the two engines despite having half full tanks at the time.