So far, it’s only reached the “our people will talk to your people” stage, but this summer’s AirVenture could feature Swiss native Yves Rossy and his unique jet-powered flying wing. Known as “Jetman,” Rossy has refined his folding-wing device over the past several years, and has successfully flown aerobatic maneuvers as well as in formation with more conventionally piloted jet fighters.
Rossy’s technique is to jump from a launch aircraft, deploy the wings, light off the four tiny model jet engines and fly under power for several minutes before landing by parachute. He has performed several demonstration flights around the world including Rio de Janeiro. Last May, he flew here in the U.S. over the Grand Canyon, but securing FAA approval to fly above an airshow crowd could be more problematic.
Though he’s widely regarded as a daredevil, at last year’s EBACE show in Geneva, Switzerland, Rossy explained at a cocktail party why he does not launch from the ground. “It is certainly possible to launch from a moving car,” he said. “But if I lost power before reaching [a few hundred feet], I would be dead.” Looking around among the crowd and pointing out his very attractive spouse, he added, “You’ve seen my wife? I can assure you I want to live!”