Yves Rossy is a 51 year-old Swiss pilot who has developed a technology that allows him to strap a pair of carbon-fiber wings on his back and fly through the air powered by four small jet engines. Cleverly, he has branded himself "Jetman." Quite possibly, he is completely insane.
Fortunately, he's also technically adept and more than a little lucky. Rossy has been flying successfully with his strap-on wings since 2006, completing such feats as crossing the English Channel and flying in formation with conventional prop-driven aircraft:
Last week, Jetman notched a new first by completing two aerial loops while wearing his tiny wings 7800' above Lake Geneva. From his website:
Yves Rossy, a.k.a. Jetman, successfully realized today at 10:03 am (Swiss time) his first looping in front of a hot-air balloon piloted by Brian Jones above Bercher.
The Swiss Yves Rossy took off from Bercher at 9:45 am (Swiss time) this morning on board of the hot-air balloon “Esprit Breitling Orbiter” , piloted by Brian Jones, to reach an altitude of 2.400 meters in 18 minutes. His wing on his back, the 4 jet-engines turned on, he jumped out of the balloon’s basket. He flew a few minutes to stabilize his wing and find the optimal angle to begin two loopings. Jetman executed a rotation in front of the balloon. Then, he deployed his parachute to land in Denezy (VD).
This flight has been achieved with Yves Rossy’s new wing, smaller (2 meters instead of 2.5 meters) and without unfoldable parts. This new prototype, designed by Yves and the RUAG Company, possesses a better aerodynamic profile and more stability. Two years after crossing the Channel, these technological evolutions allowed Jetman to perform his first acrobatics in the air.
Aviation Week pulled together a nice video about the Jetman's feat, which you can watch below. Behold, marvel, and pity the Jetman's life insurance provider: