Not since “The Jetsons” or Sean Connery in “Thunderball” have humans flown with a jet pack on their back. The idea has sparked the imaginations of comic book artists, cartoonists and filmmakers. But Yves Rossy has figured out a way to soar above ground with tiny jet engines strapped to his back, and he’s not a figment of anyone’s imagination.
Dubbed “Jetman,” Rossy made his first public performance in the U.S. on Tuesday during the afternoon airshow at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. As thousands of spectators leaned back and clicked cameras, Rossy jumped out of a helicopter with his 6-foot carbon-fiber wing armed with four 45-pound-thrust JetCat engines strapped to his back.
Firing up the engines, he began swooping, diving and twirling like an aerobatic plane, which in effect he was, though with a decidedly flesh- and-bone-constructed fuselage. Then when his fuel was spent, he pulled a parachute ripcord and floated down to the ground. Unlike a plane, Rossy has no instruments aside from a watch and altimeter since he carries eight to 10 minutes of fuel. He also has no aerodynamic controls like ailerons, elevators or rudder.
For the complete story by Meg Jones of the (Milwaukee, Wis.) Journal Sentinel, click here.