'Jet Man' Zooms Across English Channel September 29, 2008
In just 13 minutes last week, Yves Rossy flew his way into history, under his own power.
The Swiss aviator crossed the 22 miles of the English Channel on Sept. 26 with nothing powering him but his own jet-powered device. He wore a flight suit and helmet, of course, for safety reasons. To steer, he moved his head and back.
Rossy, also known as "Jet Man," had a bit of help from a plane, which
lifted him into the airspace over the French port of Calais. When the
plane was 8,200 feet high, Rossy jumped out and made his way northwest, toward the United Kingdom's White Cliffs of Dover.
He traveled at speeds of up to 125 mph. Strapped to his back were 120
pounds of equipment and fuel.
It was the first jet-powered, human-steered crossing of the English Channel. At the end of it, Rossy did a figure-eight in the sky, opened up his parachute, and floated to land.
Rossy had postponed a few earlier attempts because of bad weather. The successful journey completed a six-year plan that included months of practice.