Personal jet-pack proves flight a doddle, it’s the take-off and landing that are difficult.
A rather unusual story appeared in The Telegraph at the Weekend. Concerning a Swiss airline pilot who has invented a carbon-fibre wing with jet engines that he straps himself onto and flies ‘Rocket Man’ style at 180mph.
He is scheduled to fly across the English Channel with it in September. Details are in the story below.
Hurtling along, tied to 4 jet engines, might at first appear to be the difficult part of this journey. But I can’t help but think the take-off and landing parts of his plan could use a little refinement. He currently hurls himself from a plane, at an altitude of several thousand feet, in order to take off; then uses two parachutes to land at his destination.
Perhaps with a little further development, he may be able to improve take-off and landing using VTOL jet engines? But perhaps Mr Rossy, the inventor, is wise not to attempt to develop such improvements. As his original proto-type nearly killed him a few years ago.
The project seems to prove the idea that it’s not difficult to keep doing something, it’s starting to do something original and knowing how to stop that cause the problems.
Rocket Man to fly over Channel
By Jessica Salter
8:06PM BST 24 Aug 2008
A Swiss airline pilot, known as Rocket Man, has moved closer to becoming the first man to fly freely use a jet-powered backpack to fly over the Channel.
Yves Rossy completed a 10-minute test flight with an 8ft jet-powered wing strapped to his back, flying more than 22 miles – the equivalent of travelling from Dover to Calais.
Mr Rossy, 48, first tested his wings in May after working on the contraption for four years. The self-styled “Rocket Man” flew at 8,200ft for more than five minutes after jumping out from a plane. The wings have four small engines attached to a carbon wing and can manipulated using a lever that controls the fuel.
Last week’s test flight, which had been postponed several times because of engine problems, saw Rossy jump out of a small plane 7,500ft above the town of Bex, in Switzerland. He reached 180mph as he flew through clear skies to Villeneuve and back.
He wore a heat-resistant suit similar to those worn by racing drivers and deployed two parachutes at 5,000ft and 4,000ft to land at Bex airfield with two litres of fuel left.
He said: “Everything went well, it was awesome, it’s my longest flight with this wing. If there are no technical problems it’s okay for the English Channel.”
Mr Rossy is due to cross the Channel on September 24 and the event will be broadcast live in 165 countries by the National Geographic Channel. He said: “My flight will be a tribute to all those who came before me, many of whom were killed.”
In an earlier experimental flight three years ago he lost control and spiralled to just 1,600ft from the ground before managing to open his parachute.
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Tags: Rocket Man, Yves Rossy