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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

"Jetman" flies over the Grand Canyon on a wing, and probably a prayer

When I think of the world's best gadget guys the list is pretty short. Batman, MacGyver, James Bond, Inspector Gadget, and those guys from the old "Wild, Wild West" show come to mind. And of course Iron Man would be up there too, because his gadget makes him fly! Sadly though, all those examples are of fictitious characters with gadgets that aren't real. Have you heard of Jetman? He's real and with his jet wing gadget, he can fly!


Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, known as the Jetman, flew his custom-built jet wing over the Hualapai Indian Reservation at the Grand Canyon on Saturday for more than eight minutes at speeds reaching 190 mph. The flight was two years in the making and originally was planned for Friday. With media from across the world there to watch his first U.S. flight, Rossy canceled the flight after FAA approval delays for his device prevented him from making practice flights prior to the event. Windy conditions also hampered his plans. On Saturday, however, with the media gone and the winds subsiding, he made the flight and it was announced by his sponsor, Breitling, on Tuesday.

The carbon-fiber wing has a 6.5-foot span and four jet engines. Looking like a modern-day Buzz Lightyear, Rossy began the flight by stepping off the skids of a helicopter before starting the jet engines on his wing. When the flight was complete he deployed a parachute to land on the canyon floor. He has made many flights, including one across the English Channel and numerous flights in the Swiss Alps. He makes it look easy, but I'm sure his years of experience as a fighter and commercial pilot have something to do with that.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10:58am]


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