It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s . . . Jetman and his new sidekick!
Jetman is a former fighter pilot named Yves Rossy. He invented a jet pack with wings that allow him to soar through the air at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour. Rossy recently announced that another Jetman will start flying with him—French adventure sportsman and world-champion skydiver Vince Reffet.
“It is a privilege to have a talented athlete like Vince fly beside me high in the sky,” Rossy says. “I believe that together we will make great advances.”
Rossy began training Reffet in 2009. The two marked their partnership on May 11 by flying together over landmarks in Dubai—a major city in the Middle Eastern country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They soared over the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Reffet is only the second person in the world to fly with the Jetman jet pack, which Rossy began creating more than a decade ago. Since then, Rossy has used 15 prototypes (test models) of the pack.
The current version has a 6½-foot wingspan, weighs more than 120 pounds, and has four engines. Rossy has flown over many famous locations wearing the pack, including the Grand Canyon, the Swiss Alps, and the English Channel.
“As a pilot flying military and civilian aircrafts, I always had a dream of flying free in the open skies, because that is where you can truly be free,” says Rossy. “I want to make possible what humans have only been dreaming of.”
CONTINUING THE DREAM
On their flights, Rossy and Reffet jump out of an aircraft 7,000 feet above the ground. Then they free-fall to gain speed before soaring into the sky. They do loops and other complex moves and sometimes fly in formation with airplanes. The flights usually last 6 to 13 minutes and cover up to 35 miles.
Rossy and Reffet will continue to make flights over Dubai to help them further develop the Jetman wing and improve its technology. Rossy hopes Reffet will continue the Jetman legacy and help ensure that future generations experience human flight.
“To be able to learn from the first man in the world to fly with a jet-powered wing is an honor,” says Reffet. “I’m privileged to learn from Yves, and together we dream to go higher.”