World's first man to fly with jet-powered wings

Swiss "Fusion Man" flies 186 mph over the Alps.

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By  Talal Malik Published  May 18, 2008

A Swiss rocket man has become the first person to fly using wings and four jet-engines strapped to his back, reaching speeds of 180 miles per hour (mph).

Former fighter pilot Yves Rossy was dropped on Wednesday from a plane at 2,438 metres in the Swiss Alps in the first public demonstration of the homemade device.

After unfolding his wing, Rossy soared through the Alps at 186 mph, about 65 mph faster than the typical falling skydiver. A plane that flew at some distance beside him measured his speed.

"This flight was absolutely excellent," the former fighter pilot and extreme sports enthusiast told newswire AP after touching down on an airfield near the eastern shore of Lake Geneva.

Some of Rossy's achievements in the record five-minute flight including rising 2,600 feet before descending again as well as executing a perfect 360-degree roll.

British fans of the self-styled "Fusion Man" will be able to see him in action this autumn when he attempts a crossing of the English Channel between the UK and Europe.

Ross unsuccessfully tested his first jet engine attached to an inflatable wing in March 2003, but then developed his first rigid wing a year later.

He completed his first successful flight in 2005, with two jet engines fixed under the wing.

With a safe prototype achieved in 2006, Rossy was able to conduct the 5 min 40 sec flight - sufficient time for a few acrobatics.

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