Mechanical Menagerie #10: The Jetman


Now you can fly with jets, in a suit. The Jetman is an inventor and pioneer in his field (if you can call it that) who developed a small, jet propelled win. It looks like a glider but it is a carbon fiber wing with 4 jet engines attached which propel the wing through the air. It really is every glider’s dream, to be able to fly instead of fall. The man behind the wing is Yves Rossy, a former Swiss Air Force and Swiss International Air Lines pilot who dreamed of flying more freely. He had quite a lot of trial and error at the beginning since it had never been made before. Plenty have been damaged or made obsolete but in the last few years he has perfected his invention and deployed it to curious onlookers and excited flight enthusiasts. Below are some statistics on the wing which he uses:

  • Engine Thrust: 88 lbs per jet
  • Max Speed: 140 – 170 knots
  • Total Weight: 150 kg

Now he can fly in formation as well as performing aerial stunts. What we need now are about 20 people using these gliders to fly in formation and set up schools to teach people how to use them. Ironically, he cannot sit in a plane or helicopter. The wing is so big that he has to hold on to the side of the helicopter and wait until he reaches the right altitude to launch (jump).To fly, Yves describes it as a feeling since there aren’t very many controls, just body movements that turn the glider. To land you have to slow down and then launch a parachute since there are no wheels attached and these speeds are much faster than a simple glider. By the way, he already has a student which is a good sign for the future of this new type of flying. Would you like to be a Jetman? His website is below and you can contact him. Happy flying.

Credit: Top Gear

Here is a Top Gear video which pits the Jetman against a race car driver over an 8 mile stretch of land through the English countryside. The interesting part is that the car and helicopter start at the same time which means he has to climb while the race is underway and then launch, hoping to use his flight to his advantage for the initial loss in time. This apparent disadvantage becomes merely a small hindrance as he quickly catches up. For some reason he has to land as well for it to count but his wing was just too fast and in the end, the Jetman prevailed.

If you’d like to listen to him, here’s a TED Talk from 2011

 Credit: TED

Here are some flights that he has done:

Grand Canyon


Mt. Fuji

Credit: Jetman Dubai

Rio de Janerio

Credit: Jetman Dubai


For more articles related to technology go to Mechanical Menagerie and check out my other pages for excellent content on science, technology, history and more!




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