back to article Swiss strap-on jetplane ace flies Channel

Renowned Swiss birdman Yves Rossy has, after several weather-related setbacks, finally flown over the English Channel using his unique backpack jetplane. Leaping from a plane 8,000 feet above Calais, Rossy extended his wings, fired up his four mini jet engines and zoomed across the Channel in less than ten minutes, following …


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  1. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    Not impressed.

    He didn't take off, or land, under the (self contained) power of his 'aircraft'.

    More Gitwizardry!

  2. John Gray
    IT Angle

    Much better video on BBC News!


  3. Ralph B

    So, was he flying?

    Or just falling with style?

  4. Simon


    Wake me up when someone tries to do this with the aid of a giant cannon.

    Seriously though, if you start thinking about it, it does take balls to do something like that, you can't just apply the brakes and get off if it gets too scary.

    If I tried it, I would only get so far until I generated enough Poo ballast to make me too heavy to fly and plummet into the water.

  5. adam

    carbon footprint?

    the size of a diamond elephant

  6. James Marten
    Thumb Up

    Oh, who cares exactly how he took off or landed?

    Not me... I want one.

  7. Bez


    "I only have one word, thank you, to all the people who did it with me."

    So who's the stupid knob-end at the BBC who decided to write "thankyou" as two words?

  8. Pete Silver badge

    would a paper dart in a following wind do better?

    So he hitches a lift to 8000 feet or 1.5 miles altitude, then merely preserves a glide ratio of better than 1.5 / 23 = 15.3::1 (slightly worse than a 747) and claims a success.

    There's a fine line between daring and stupidity - the only real difference is if you live to talk about it afterwards

  9. James Marten


    > If I tried it, I would only get so far until I generated enough Poo ballast

    > to make me too heavy to fly

    Er, no you wouldn't... because your overall weight wouldn't change, no matter what comes out. The aerodynamics might, though.

  10. Simon

    @James Marten

    Damn, next you will be picking holes in the design of my wind turbine powered flying machine...

  11. Anonymous Coward


    > > "I only have one word, thank you, to all the people who did it with me."

    > So who's the stupid knob-end at the BBC who decided to write "thankyou" as two words?

    Probably a literate one who KNOWS that "Thank You" is (are?) two words!

    But if his native language is French, then "Merci" is just one word. N'est ce pas?

  12. Tim Bergel

    Thank you Bez

    In the UK at least, 'thank you' *is* two words ...

    > the former Swiss airforce fighter pilot will be sticking to his day job as an airline pilot

    Please tell us which airline. I do not want someone who would do that as my pilot, thank you very much.

    Thank you all

  13. John Bayly

    @Bez (Not Simon)

    Damn, can't even copy and paste properly.

    I'd agree with the beeb.

    As a verb: Thank you, eg. "Thank you for coming today"

    As a noun: Thankyou, eg. "He gave a great big thankyou"

    As an adjective: Thankyou, eg. "He gave a thankyou card"

    In fact my Firefox spell check (Real English) doesn't even like thankyou.

    Mine's the one with the Shortcut Keys crib list in it

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    @ Tim Bergel

    I disagree. He is the man I very much DO want flying the plane I'm in.

    Most of the time it really won't matter, but when the engines are falling off and the landing gear won't come down, he'll be the one with the sheer determination to do whatever it takes to get the plane down in one piece.

  15. Nick

    I want one!

    Can I have one please? Thats freakin awesome!

    All he needs to do now is perfect launching from a run up and perhaps a smoother landing system, and he'd sell millions. Obviously this guy is a qualified pilot, but what are the rules and regulations regarding this sort of thing?

  16. Joe Soap

    No Big deal :(

    It has been done before but without engines

  17. S Taylor
    Paris Hilton

    Thank you for the article, Lewis.

    Paris, 'cos she knows how to say thank you properly.

  18. Kenneth Chan

    Forget about flying car!

    One jet power, carbon fiber fly wing to go please.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Simon @James Marten

    Doesn't matter, I laughed anyway. Glad I didn't have to send you the bill for a new monitor.

    What I want to know is: did he have his passport or was he picked up for illegally entering the country?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    8000 feet?

    Weird. Beeb article says 9000 feet...

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @ Tim Bergel

    Umm Tim, just to avoid any confusion: he does not fly plane or use a jetpack simultaneously - it's one or the other. That wing is a b*tch to fit in the pilot seat..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I sat through the full 90mins of this programme on NatGeo and the tw*t didnt die. The only reason worth watching it was to see him crash and burn.

    I will be moderatley impressed when someone flies an unpowered handglider over the channel, til then its utter bollox.

    /paris cos shes supersonic.

  23. Chris G Silver badge

    Earlier flights are more impressive

    I don't have the links but you can track this guy down on you tube.

    Este hombre tienes cojones grande.

  24. Nebulo
    Thumb Up

    Stark staring mad :)

    Brilliant stunt, though.

  25. CTG
    Black Helicopters


    If you actually *watch* the video you can see that when he jumps out of the plane, he goes straight down for a couple of thousand feet while the wings are extending and the jets fire up. He is probably more like 5-6,000 feet when he heads off - and is still pretty high when he cuts the engines and pops the chute. I'd say the glide path was more like 3,000 feet in 23 miles, or more like 45:1, which is quite respectable, particularly when you look at the wingspan. He is certainly not just gliding - looked like straight and level flight to me.

  26. F Seiler


    IIRC from older videos of him, he can actually climb with it. It probably isn't done here to reach the distance needed or simply because it wasn't the goal in this this one.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Last one out please turn out the lights

    I know things are getting desperate for the UK now. Just imagine your life being ruined enough to make it worth trying to leave the country by strapping a bomb to your back!

    Booby prize - a night out with Paris. Total losers prize - two nights out with Paris.

  28. Charles Manning

    @James and Simon

    Poo would not have changed overall mass, but it would have moved the COG backwards.

    Poo induced stall perhaps?

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    8000 feet.

    The BBCs version is using NuLabour feet. 1000 of their 9000 feet are actually included in the original 8000 feet, but have been re-announced as part of a new extra feet initiative this week.

  30. Svein Skogen

    The real question

    Did he remove his shoes, and buy all his drinks on the inside of the security barrier, and prove to a goon with overdeveloped muscles and underdeveloped brain, that "no, I do not intend to hijack this plane"?

    Wanna bet this will be introduced as a means to keep the population docile, as soon as they find a way?

    But, when all that is behind us, I applaud the daring swissman. It took some courage flying a wing he knew (from the windtunnel test) had a neasty tendency of stalling out, and sending him into a flat spin, as he did. He has my respect for his bravery.


  31. Chris Malme

    @ Will Godfrey

    "Most of the time it really won't matter, but when the engines are falling off and the landing gear won't come down, he'll be the one with the sheer determination to do whatever it takes to get the plane down in one piece."

    No, he'll be the one with an exit strategy.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    We Write English

    Baz: "So who's the stupid knob-end at the BBC who decided to write "thankyou" as two words?"

    Someone who knows that "thank you" is two words in English. The writer at the BBC is not stupid, a "knob-end" or ignorant of the English language. The Swiss gentleman may be excused this error as it is not his first language.

    All that aside, I think this is a great achievement.

    And I love the line that goes "I'm not afraid of risk. I manage risk."

  33. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Would it be possible.. get a radio-controlled version of this twat? The Self-Aggrandiser 2000 - now available in carnage red.

  34. Anonymous Coward


    So next he wants to build one that can do a vertical take off, instead of having to jump from a plane. Oh yea, I've seen that before, and it didn't work out so well for the coyote!

    Mine's the one with the birdseed and numerous receipts from ACME in the pockets.

  35. Peter Simpson

    Lateral control is by...

    ...shifting the weight of his extremely large ones.

    Impressed, but not standing in line for an opportunity to try it.

  36. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    @David Blaine

    That's not a stunt. This is a stunt.

  37. Kenny Swan

    Slightly pointless...

    Why jump out and use this gizmo to fly the rest of the way when he was ALREADY in a plane capable of flying him there? Just showing off, that's all that is... What do you mean 'I'm just jealous 'cos I don't have one'? I'm not jealous. I'll show you jealous. *grumble grumble...*

  38. Richard Thomas

    Re: Earlier flights are more impressive

    (I feel like the Roman soldier in Life of Brian) This man you (familiar) have balls (pl.) big (sing.)?

    Lose the 's' off tienes and stick it on the end of grande...

    Spelling pedantry in foreign FTW!

  39. trackSuit

    Swiss-type flyer

    After a rather exciting trip from up to down, I wonder if he will celebrate as usual, or whether it will be a single glass of Carver in the back of Land Rover 4x8 plus a polo?

    After all that, one wonders if he will ever be able to lead anything approaching a normal life. He may not yet fully realise what he has done. Thrill seakers do not always realise the danger they are in. Stupidity can be a saving grace which can come too late.

  40. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Duty Free Allowance?

    Where's the an in-flight movie, salty snacks and duty free cart?

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