Jet Man: the flight of a birdman


If Leonardo Da Vinci could look at the sky today, he’d probably envy Yves Rossy’s invention. For hundreds of years humans have wanted to fly. Throughout the course of history various things have been invented to make this dream a reality, as we explored in a recent blog post. However, none of them have approached it in the manner Rossy has: make human wings. This flying enthusiast was the first to build and use wings that attach to the flyer’s back. Similar devices have existed since World War II, when research into rockets and jetpacks was in high demand.

This device allows the user to make stable and lasting flights and can reach up to 300 km/h, however it doesn’t have anything to help it land or take off. One must take off from a great height, from an aircraft, for example, to take off, and parachute to land. The wings are made of

carbon fiber. They’re around 2.4 meters long and are propelled thanks to four small motors located underneath. They are placed there carefully so to avoid burning Rossy or cause him to lose control of the device. It’s powered by kerosene and the uniform needed to use it is very much like that of firefighters, and protects the pilot from the gas and propulsion engines.

The cost? A lot. His team have spent around €180,000 in order to pull this off and make history and be the first to gain altitude and achieve a stable horizontal flight.

So Jet Man flies

Before flapping the wings and soaring like a bird, Yves reaches a great height in a plane and then jumps out, with the wings folded, before they’re released when he descends. It is then that he must maintain the height and speed in his trajectory. He can also direct the device using his body and hands. He would then deploy his parachute to land.

The first success

The first time the pilot successfully achieved this goal was near Geneva on the 24th June 2004. Since then he’s made more than 30 flights with those wings – we’d quite like a set ourselves.

In May 2008 he made a successful flight lasting 6 minutes at an altitude of 790 meters above the town of Bex, whose residents were lucky enough to witness it.

The Channel

In September of that same year Jet Man was going to fly from Calais to United Kingdom, but due to bad weather he couldn’t risk it, as the landing could potentially get complicated.

Yves had to wait for two days to fly over the English Channel and did so for 10 minutes. When the flight stabilized towards Dover he was going 200 km/h. This flight used 32 liters of kerosene to reach the target.

It was this feat that brought him into the public eye as it was broadcast live in more than 165 countries. He was a legend.

The Grand Canyon


In 2011 Jetman did it again. He was launched from a helicopter at 8,000 meters and flew over the Grand Canyon for more than eight minutes. Later he landed at the bottom of the canyon.

Christ the redeemer

Brazil was next and in 2012 he flew over Corcovado hill, Ipanema Beach and Christ the Redeemer in 11 minutes and 35 seconds.

Mount Fuji


In November 2013 Yves completed his first flight in Asia. He soared over the famous snow- capped peak going 300 km/h and even doing loops.

The Airbus 380, Dubai


Apparently Yves has a different challenge every year. In 2015 he dared to fly alongside the world's largest airplane, the Airbus 380, in Dubai.

The flight was choreographed and coordinated with Fly Emirates.

After reading this and watching those videos, who doesn’t want to fly? There are many modern inventions that give you that feeling of freedom and the adrenaline rush that Jet Man gets from every flight - Hurricane Factory is one of them. Want to give it a go?

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