JetMan Yves Rossy Loops

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Friday, Yves Rossy, 51, strapped his latest custom-made microturbine-powered wings to his back, threw himself off a platform attached to a hot air balloon's gondola, powered up, and performed at least one roll and a looping maneuver before landing safely, as planned, under parachute. Rossy flew the loop on new smaller wings that span only two meters -- that's about one half-meter shorter than his last set. The wing is still powered by four microturbine jet engines. Rossy left the gondola at about 7,875 feet over Lake Geneva for the flight, some four years since his first public flight with personal wings. His past adventures include a September 2008 trip across the English Channel, and his future goals include a flight through the Grand Canyon (if granted permission). Rossy's flights have so far met with good outcomes, though they haven't always gone as planned. Click here to watch Rossy's looping flight.

In 2009, Rossy attempted a flight from Morocco to Spain over the 24-mile gap imposed by the Straight of Gibraltar. For that trip, he was strapped to an eight-foot-long carbon-fiber wing powered by the usual salvo of four jet-fueled microturbines. Those turbines, produced by JetCat are capable of about 200 pounds of thrust, combined. The effort was meant to last about 15 minutes and ended early in the North Atlantic Ocean. Rescued by helicopter from the sea, Rossy said he'd first been forced down to about 2,500 feet. There he reported, "Unstable at this height, that's no playing any more." He ejected his wings and pulled his chute. Of his failed attempt, then sponsor Stuart Sterzel said, "He is a man of courage." Sterzel added, "He will get up and dust himself off," and very likely find another adventure or try again.