Yves Rossy, dubbed “Jetman” after becoming the first man ever to fly with a jet-propelled wing, completed a historic eight-minute flight over the Grand Canyon on Saturday. According to a press release issued by Breitling, Rossy’s sponsor, the Swiss pilot completed the flight after taking off from a helicopter at 8,000 feet with his jet-propelled wing strapped to his back.
He then proceeded to fly approximately 200 feet above the rim of the Grand Canyon, steering with his body and reaching speeds of up to 190 mph during the process, before he deployed his parachute and glided down to the canyon surface.
This weekend’s event marked Rossy’s first “Jetman” endeavor in the United States, and comes five years after he completed his first successful forward-moving flight with his jet-pack.
“My first flight in the U.S. is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life, not only for the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon but the honor to fly in sacred Native American lands,” Rossy was quoted as saying in Breitling’s release.
The event came after a much-anticipated flight intended for Friday was called off. Breitling attributed the cancellation to a delay in FAA approval of the jet-propelled wing. After establishing contact with Rossy a few weeks ago, the FAA debated about how to classify Rossy’s unique device, but gave final approval on Friday morning for Rossy’s Grand Canyon event.
Saturday’s flight was the latest in Rossy’s impressive string of feats, which includes crossing Lake Geneva and the English Channel using his jet-propelled wing. A 51-year-old former Air Force pilot and current captain for Swiss International Airlines, Rossy has spent much of his life in a cockpit. He has spent most of his free time, however, experimenting in less enclosed forms of flying.
He initially started out exploring sky surfing and freefall wing suits, but found the experience lacking. So he turned to a larger project, the development of his own jet-pack equipped with four jet turbine engines. Since his first successful flight with the jet-propelled wing in 2006, Rossy has been continually adapting his design to improve stability and control. His latest success over the Grand Canyon is yet another testament to his efforts.
(For more on Jetman, check out these up-close photos of the daredevil.)
Video: © Breitling. Photo: © André Bernet/Breitling.