Winged-wonder Yves fulfils burning ambition with loop-the-loop
Published 06/11/2010 | 05:00
Yves Rossy has had an unusual burning ambition and yesterday he achieved it.
The Swiss adventurer jumped from a hot-air balloon and promptly completed two aerial loops using just his custom-made jet-propelled wingsuit -- the first time such aerobatics have been performed.
It was just the latest daredevil stunt by the former fighter pilot who hopes one day to fly through the Grand Canyon in his wingsuit.
Mr Rossy (51) launched himself from a replica of the Breitling Orbiter -- the first balloon to be piloted nonstop around the world in 1999 -- at an altitude of 7,874 feet (2,400 metres) near Lake Geneva.
Then he fired up the jets on his new -- smaller and sleeker -- wingsuit to perform the loopings before landing safely with a parachute.
Mr Rossy declared himself "very happy and satisfied" with yesterday's stunt, which comes two years after his first successful flights over the nearby Swiss Alps.
The extreme sports enthusiast has since flown across the English Channel and last year tried to cross the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain. That attempt ended in failure when he was ditched in the sea due to strong turbulence.
Mr Rossy who documents all his exploits on his website www.jetman.com said he is still hoping to fly through the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but is waiting for permission. To do this, he will have to fit his wings with bigger, more powerful jets. The German-built model aircraft engines he currently uses already provide 200lbs (91kg) of thrust.
"Physically, it's absolutely no stress," Mr Rossy said. "It's like being on a motorbike."