November 29, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
Yves Rossy’s press notices are fond of saying that for decades, the stunt pilot known as Jetman wanted to fly like a bird.
By now it’s probably safe to say that he has turned the tables.
Proving the aviation adage that the greatest feats of aeronautical daring succeed best when pilot and machine seem as one, on Sept. 26 Rossy, 52, strapped on a wing—fortified with four jet engines—and made a now-familiar diving exit from a helicopter before forming up with two jets for some aerobatic flying above some seriously altitudinous European mountains.
“Adjusting his trajectory and altitude by his body movements alone, he then performed aerobatic figures above the Swiss Alps in the company of two L-39C Albatros planes from the Breitling Jet Team, the world’s largest professional civilian aerobatics team performing on jets,” said a November news release from Jetman’s website.
It also asserted, “Another top-flight feat makes aviation history.”
Challenge that claim if you must. But doing so would seem more foolish than daring when you consider that Rossy’s recent routines have included “crossing the (English) Channel, flying alongside two Boeing Stearman biplanes carrying the Breitling Wingwalkers, looping the loop around a hot-air balloon and hurtling across the sky over the Grand Canyon.” (That last one, which kept everyone in more suspense than a student pilot waiting for a chance to make a VFR cross-country, clearly wasn’t within the FAA’s comfort zone as it pondered a way to categorize Rossy’s jetpack-powered “mancraft” while deciding whether to grant a waiver.)
Pilot Safety and Skills,
Hot Air Balloon,
Helicopter training is generally very safe. So why do run-on takeoffs and landings feel so wrong?
Your mission: Fly with eight F-15s to the Philippines, rejoin, refuel with air tankers, engage an unknown number of Red Air fighters, refuel again, and then return home to Okinawa. And fly with radio silence up to the first contact with the Red Air fighters.
SocialFlight users can now publish events via Facebook and Twitter.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.