Man flies personal jet wing across English Channel

Yves Rossy jumped out of a plane over Calais, France today and flew his jet-propelled wing across the English Channel. After crossing the water, he released his parachute and floated safely to the ground. From the Associated Press:
Backed by a gentle breeze, Rossy crossed the Channel in 13 minutes, averaging 125 miles per hour. In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England, although the wind blew him away from his planned landing spot next to the lighthouse.

"It was perfect. Blue sky, sunny, no clouds, perfect conditions," the Swiss pilot said after touching down in an adjacent field. He said he wanted to show, "it is possible to fly, a little bit, like a bird."
"Swiss man flies over Channel on jet wing" (, thanks Jennifer Lum!), Rossy's FusionMan site (


  1. Is that Putin flying over the Bering Strait?

    (I predict SNL will merge these two news items into one tedious and predictable “comedy skit”)

  2. How does he land ? I would like to see a bunch
    of them sworming the sky like the flying monkeys
    in Wizard of Oz. Truly this guy has balls with

  3. I resent this!

    I mean, the man’s a hero, brave, and the event is amazing. Sure. Fine.

    But how about Larry Walters, huh?

    How about a little love for the American Redneck?

    Remember his immortal words, “A man can’t just sit around.”

    No awards for him, no brass band awaiting his descent. Just handcuffs and the remains of the beer he took with him.

    Sad is the world. Good thing I have this Kevorkian Scarf.

  4. @#3 The BBC says that the distance flown on 30 litres was 22 miles. So,Paris-NY (ie. approx. 3636 miles) = (3636/22)*30 = 4,958 Litres.

    Also, density of kerosene is approx. 810 kg/m^3, so 4,958 Litres would weigh 0.810*4958 = 4016 kg, ie. about 4 metric tonnes. Obviously too heavy to fly. So I reckon he’d need about 166 in flight refuelings to do that trip.

  5. Would it be possible to GLIDE across the channel – from a really high hot air balloon perhaps?

    Kittinger stylee, but with one of those wing suits?

    Can someone do the math, please!? :)

  6. Thanks #10 for the maths, I guess I’ll do my next USA trip with British Airways. I don’t really have the nerve for 166 inflight gas stops.

  7. “In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England”

    Does that qualify him for the Mile High Club?

  8. @#11

    Not sure of exactly where the gliders were released from their tow planes, but if they could do it in 1944 I’d imagine it’s more than possible with today’s tech.

  9. I know the headline says “swiss man,” but I looked at the picture all blown up, and I could just swear that’s a really a coyote in a helmet & jumpsuit.

  10. Shortly after landing, Rossy was required to submit fingerprints for an RFID-enabled immigration card.

  11. “In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England”

    England reported feeling used and humiliated, but meekly admitted that it kind of liked it. A little bit.

  12. @#15 posted by grimc

    Oh yes, I know about those, but as you suggest, surely those big old gliders didn’t glide the whole width of the channel? Or need to?

    @#13 posted by cbuchner1

    Aha – 1977 in a hang glider! From only 18,000 feet.

    (and scroll halfway down).

    Plus… without a glider in 2003, though I can’t work out if they mean in freefall, or with a wing (there’s a difference, surely):

  13. @ 22

    The difference is, this is a jet-pack powered flight. The 2003 one was a wing-assisted 20 mile freefall.

  14. I can’t believe no one has said this yet, but what the hell: To infinity! And beyond!
    Great stuff. Many congratulations to M. Rossy.

  15. cn pctr ths gy lvng hstl rl rly wrng th st nd rckt bts.

    t’s gd t hv gls gss. Nxt h’ll ttmpt t t th mst ht dgs drng flght.

    Hs mthr mst b s vry prd.

  16. “jumped out of a plane”

    Awwwww. There are the operant words. Enough power to glide, not enough to climb.

    Oh well. The dream lives on.

  17. Jphilby: Though I really don’t know, I think that he jumped from a plane not because there wasn’t enough power to climb, but because he didn’t have a method for taking off, much like the Bell X-1 or other experimental plane-dropped planes. The wing probably doesn’t work well at low speeds.

  18. A very cool article. I suggested this link on the official BoingBoing Form at around 8-8:30 central this morning. I guess Jennifer Lum beat me to it. I was surprised though – I suggested the link -then throughout the day most of my feeds posted the same article.

    I originally found the story on the National Geographic site.

  19. I’m still wondering where the interesting story is? and yes I did forget my meds and typed that comment ANTINOUS . You wouldn’t want to buy a bridge would you ANTINOUS?

  20. @30 JPhilby

    This guy does have enough power to climb actually, if you check out the older videos of him you will see him drop out of a plane and then when he unfolds his wings he climbs back up to the same altitude as his drop plane. Also he does stunts like climbing over mountain ridges, etc. Lot’s of climbing

    The reason for the initial drop is because he can’t run at 100mph !
    IE the same reason he parachutes to stop, human legs != landing gear.

  21. @Mojave (#2), the Pentagon has UAVs now. They figured out that the person being at the site wasn’t as important as the camera/gun/etc. (Although I’m sure they have something like this .. right?)

    @Biscuit4, don’t taunt the moderators, buddy!

  22. Watched it live yesterday but all the lead-in time of the programme before the flight on Nat Geo was pretty crap.
    I did it the hard way myself (with a swimming hat, googles & speedos) only four weeks ago. Knowing the effort that goes into a channel swim, i found it a bit hard to get really excited about it. Although I’m not denying the undoubted risk that the guy took.

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