The bird man flies over the Alps

19 May 2008  -  Switzerland


© Media Impact

Yves “FusionManRossy, the first man to fly under a single jet-powered wing, completed his first official demonstration on May May 14 th 2008 at midday. Released from a plane at an altitude of 8,000 feet, he completed a circuit in just over 5 minutes which saw him fly over the Swiss Chablais and neighbouring mountains.
The spectacle was impressive. Yves Rossy leapt from the plane with his wing folded, then deployed his craft and began the flight proper. He made several “figure of eights” above spectators aware of being present at an exceptional event. At the end of the flight FusionMan deployed his parachute, folded the wing and landed safely at Bex airdrome, Switzerland.

The fusion of technology, body and mind
Yves Rossy represents the intensely close relationship between the development of a technology, a body honed to perfection which he uses to steer his craft, and a mind attuned to split-second coordination of flight parameters. The only instruments available to Yves Rossy are a throttle and an audible altimeter. Otherwise he flies like a bird, using only his body to change direction. The name FusionMan reflects this synergy of diverse skills that has made a dream come true.

Future developments
This 14th of May marks the first official step in developing the wing designed by Yves Rossy. Thanks to the support of Jean-Claude Biver, the boss of Hublot watches, the pilot can devote more of his time to his passion and its future development. Some exploits are likely to leave a lasting impression: the first release from a hot air balloon, the first flight in formation or the first “loop the loop” are just some of the pioneering feats that FusionMan is hoping to accomplish over the coming months. The Channel crossing is scheduled for next autumn. Powered by scaled down Jet- Cat engines, his aircraft has exceptional potential in terms of flying time and range, safety and handling.

The jet wing
It was in March 2003 that the first jet engine was ignited at altitude, on the Allalin glacier in Saas Fee, then on board an aircraft. The German company Jet-Cat supplied the engines which were initially attached to an inflatable wing. This method failed because of insufficient rigidity. In 2004 Yves Rossy developed a rigid deployable carbon wing manufactured by ACT Composites. The early days were difficult. At the Al-Aïn air show – probably the world’s largest event of its kind – he went into a spin, released the wing and tore his parachute. The craft was partially destroyed. The pilot worked on improving the wing deployment system and the aerodynamics of the wing tips to improve its stability. In 2005, he completed two successful flights under a wing fitted with two jet engines. A month later, he risked death again as uncontrollable oscillations forced him to release the wing which crashed to the ground. A long year of hard work and the addition of two additional jet engines were needed for the wing to attain the required level of performance and safety. This was the flight of November 2006, in Bex, a waking dream lasting 5 minutes and 40 seconds. 

Since then, Yves Rossy has been training constantly in order to optimise his wing. In April 2007, during a test flight, Yves was again forced to jettison his prototype. Seriously damaged, the wing took several months to repair. Yves Rossy then decided to build a new, more reliable and efficient prototype. Since 2008, his wings have been perfected further to enhance his flying enjoyment.

Source : Media Impact

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------          Next --->