May 15, 2008

I Am Going Get A Pair of Wings

BEX, Switzerland - A Swiss pilot strapped on a jet-powered wing and leaped from a plane Wednesday for the first public demonstration of the homemade device, turning figure eights and soaring high above the Alps.

Yves Rossy's performance in front of the world press capped five years of training and many more years of dreaming.

"This flight was absolutely excellent," the former fighter pilot and extreme sports enthusiast said after touching down on an airfield near the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.

Rossy, 48, had stepped out of the Swiss-built Pilatus Porter aircraft at 7,500 feet and unfolded the rigid eight-foot wings strapped to his back before jumping.

Passing from free fall to a gentle glide, Rossy then triggered four jet turbines and accelerated to 186 miles per hour, about 65 miles per hour faster than the typical falling skydiver. A plane that flew at some distance beside him measured his speed.

Rossy's website is here.

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