back to article Swiss jetwing backpack-birdman flies the Grand Canyon

Swiss aerial daredevil Yves Rossy, aka "Jetman" has completed his latest feat successfully, leaping from a helicopter to hurtle across the Grand Canyon using his unique strap-on, jet-powered personal aeroplane before descending to land by parachute. Rossy's previous feats have included a flight across the English Channel and …


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  1. Another One


    Very cool:) Of course - you'd have to be crazy to fly something like that but still:)

    I also love the use of duct-tape and cardboard(?) or something taped to the underside of the wings - can be seen at end of the video.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Cool

      Yes, I think he's going to die doing that! Mind you I wouldn't even jump out of a plane with a parachute, much less use that as my backup!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    that guy may be crazy...

    ...But he's a serious badass. The world needs more like him.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Rockets? Meh...

    When he starts at ground level on one side of the Grand Canyon and safely lands on the other, *then* I might consider it a crossing. Starting way up in the air and flying a bit sideways? Nah. Better yet, do it without the motor.

  4. D@v3

    I love this guy.

    Have done since i saw a video of him a few years back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He spends his time

      pushing controlled flight to new limits and you spend yours trolling the internet.

      Still, it's good to have a hobby, eh?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He spends his time

        No, he spends his time falling out of aircrafts, being given big kick up the backside then falling down a few kilometres away. It's not even falling gracefully.

        Would you have considered it controlled flying if the Wright brothers had jumped out of a tree and flapped their arms about?

        1. thecakeis(not)alie

          @Chris W

          His ungraceful falling hobby will get him quite throughly laid. Rightly so. I am sure the women come a running to "my hobby is trolling on t'internets."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            WTF are you on about, if all you care about is getting laid I can think of easier ways, just asking has a rather high success rate, although, to use an acronym I detest, YMMV. You should come out from under your bridge from time to time.

            1. thecakeis(not)alie

              @Chris W

              Sore spot?

              Sorry dude, but I do vote "jetwing backpack-birdman" as a significantly more awesome hobby that "complaining on t'internets." For that matter, more awesome than most of my hobbies, too.

              Using the internet to run down people who do things that are more exciting than anything you undertake is so 1990s. Posting cats was the 2000s. How about we work on something more productive for the 2010s, eh?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


                Come on, anybody who needs to jump out of aircraft to pull the birds must be rather dull.

                Personally, a mug of horlicks and the latest Biggles is more than enough excitement for me.

                1. thecakeis(not)alie

                  @Chris W

                  I'd argue that anyone willing to jump out of an Aircraft doesn't need any help "pulling the birds." The jetpack, aircraft jumping otherwise being a spectular example of dudeness simply ensures that the birds he's going home with are of the "top notch" variety.

                  Probably all at once.

                  Love to see the side-by-side against using "I complain on t'internets" as your bait.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: spectular example of dudeness

                    Why don't you just come out and admit it, you want to sleep with the guy!

                    1. thecakeis(not)alie

                      @Chris W

                      Nah...but I want him as my wingman!

                      And that's for picking up chicks IRL, not on t'internets.

  5. Swoop

    Thank you, Lewis

    "Strap-on thrust equipment conquers mighty cleft"

    Made my day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      As title!

  6. frank ly Silver badge

    Meep - Meep !

    It's not clear in the video or the article; did he actually manage to catch the Road Runner?

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge

      title required

      According to the t-shirt I'm wearing he did.. and in a very carnal way too.

      Beep Beep

  7. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Ah, there's the IT angle!

    I trust El Reg will make flameproof trousers standard uniform for its writers.

  8. Dan Price


    "the current machine on its own boasts a thrust-to-weight ratio of greater than one, but not once the weight of the pilot is added."

    ...and an even worse thrust-to-weight ratio when you consider his enormous, clanking brass balls.

  9. Luther Blissett

    What a guy

    And I'll bet one other thing - that he's not a socialist either.

    (For one thing, we'd have been up to the gills for 18 months with his soliciting donations for some big charidee...)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    When will he try the Snake River

    So, when will he be trying the Snake River (

    @Neil Barnes - IF he starts out on the North Rim and heads south, he stands a chance, as the North Rim is higher than the South Rim. If/When he can start at the South Rim and head North successfully - that's when I'll be impressed.

    General: You don't need a thrust to weight ratio > 1 to climb - after all, your average Cessna 182 can manage that quite nicely. You just need to have more positive wing lift than your weight with less drag than your thrust.

    1. miknik
      Thumb Up

      Point Cessna prop upwards and see what happens...

      To climb you need more lift than weight, in forward flight then your statement is correct but to achieve controlled VTOL you need thrust to be greater than weight and drag as both of these forces will be acting downwards and with 0 airspeed your wing will be generating no lift.

      Peronally I'd like to see this guy strap on some roller skates, crank it up to about 60 knots on the tarmac and then rotate...

  11. The elephant in the room

    Ace McCloud

    Who remembers Centurions, Saturday morning cartoon in the 80s?

    I'm surprised this guy needs 4 jets when a cruise missile can get by with one, but then I haven't put as much thought into strap-on jet wings as him so must defer to his judgement.

    How about folding wings so he can be fired from a canon then ignite jettisonable booster rockets for take-off, and a more pointy helmet and canard gauntlets (with guns in them)?

  12. Chris Glen-smith

    This is a title

    And how do you know he is the only man alive who can fly it? Has anybody else tried? I'd give it a go :) It could be that it's easy and all the mishaps are pilot error, who'd know?

    Ps where are the women that flock to "my hobby is tolling the internet"???

    The landing looked particularly uncomfortable!

  13. S Larti

    Dammit Lewis!

    You owe me a new keyboard for "Strap-on thrust equipment conquers mighty cleft"!

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Me? Accused of Trolling?

    Well, there's a first time for everything...

    My point was that this fellow is being feted not for the feat of crossing the GC - he didn't, from the reports I read: he landed on the canyon floor - but for strapping a rocket to his arseparts and donning a wing-suit.

    He did something essentially similar over the English Channel - a high altitude takeoff to ensure that his glide angle was sufficient to get him across. The motor is moving him along at a pretty quick lick, but so what? It's hardly a useful aircraft if the only way is down...

    Were it not for the fact that para and hang-gliders are excluded from the Grand Canyon airspace, he could have achieved exactly the same flight - though slower - with an unpowered paraglider. He could probably have done a rim-rim flight unpowered, too, and certainly with a powered paraglider.

    Fair play to the guy, but he's achieved no great aeronautical feat here beyond lots of coverage for a watch manufacturer.

    <I'm going to get zapped for this one, too...>

  15. Alan Edwards

    Toy Story

    "That wasn't flying! That was falling... with style!" - Woody.

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