Jetman Yves Rossy Flies Above AirVenture

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Photo courtesy of Breitling

In his first public flight in the U.S., "Jetman" Yves Rossy leapt from a helicopter about 6,500 feet above Oshkosh on Tuesday, and flew above the crowd for just under 10 minutes, navigating among the clouds, powered by his unique strap-on jet system. Jumbotrons scattered around the field helped show-goers to share Rossy's experience. Viewed from ground level, he was a tiny dark triangle, silhouetted beneath the gray clouds. Rossy circled the field several times, and executed an aerial somersault or two. While still about 3,000 feet above the ground, he activated his chute, and floated down to the surface.  

After landing, Rossy joined the press corps for a half-hour question-and-answer session. He said his system costs about $100,000, so he doesn't expect jetman-flying to grow as a sport; however, he has already trained one other flyer and expects there may be more. He also said he is working on another system with more jet power. Also in the works are new parachute techniques that may enable him to fly much lower by next year, perhaps as low as 600 feet. "It's a great honor to do the first public flight here," he said. "That's the SuperBowl of aviation, the biggest airshow in the world. It's a very emotional moment. It was a great, great honor to be here." Rossy is expected to fly again on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday during the airshow, though no times have been announced. AVweb is scheduled for an exclusive interview with Rossy later in the week.