May 2, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
Now it’s confirmed: Jetman Yves Rossy will tumble backward off the skid of a helicopter at not only EAA AirVenture 2013 but the Reno, Nev., National Championship Air Races and Air Show later in the year. He’ll fly with the aid of a wing strapped to his back and four jet engines designed for model airplanes, using only his feet, arms, and hands to control his flight path.
It appears that whatever agreement was needed with Rossy’s sponsor, Breitling, was received. Rossy is a Swiss airline pilot and inventor. He can do a loop, although there are no details on what he might perform at Oshkosh and Reno. He has previously flown what was deemed by his publicist as a “private” demonstration above the Grand Canyon in 2011, but it was anything but private. Media types were ready and waiting. The FAA said that it received last-minute notice for its approval, but it did, however, grant approval for the flight.
He uses German-made Jetcat P200 model aircraft engines to the horror of the U.S. distributor, but to the delight of the German manufacturer that has signed on as one of his sponsors. He has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman where Letterman inquired if he could become a sponsor. So far the only name on his wing has been Breitling, the luxury watch manufacturer. Rossy has flown in formation with a Douglas DC-3 carrying Breitling employees.
Breitling has just released the Emergency II dual-frequency watch compatible with Cospas-Sarsat international satellite alert system. The company claims it is the first dual-frequency personal locater beacon. It transmits on both 121.5 MHz with 30 milliwatts of power and 406.04 MHz with 3.2 watts of power. The watch weighs three-tenths of a pound without the strap. The price—are you sitting down?—is $15,750 with the stylish titanium strap but you can save a little money with the Pro Diver rubber strap, reducing the price to $14,825.
A half-ton Dodge truck lines up on the centerline. As the pickup accelerates, the floatplane trailered behind it adds power, lifts off, banks left, and departs: just another floatplane launch by Joe Sprague of Cadillac Aircraft Services in Cadillac, Mich.
Public-use heliports aren't very plentiful, but those that are offer unique capabilities and a fun challenge.
Dinners at Waypoint Café at California's Camarillo Airport will have an outside dining option to watch airplanes and helicopters take off and land, and learn more about general aviation in the process.
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