Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy has completed two aerial loops using a custom-made jet-propelled wingsuit. He jumped from a hot-air balloon above Lake Geneva on Friday and performed the daredevil stunt before landing safely with a parachute.
Yves Rossy declared himself as ‘very happy and satisfied’ at Friday’s stunt, which comes two years after his first successful flights over the nearby Swiss Alps.
Rossy launched himself from a replica of the Breitling Orbiter, the world’s first balloon to be piloted nonstop around the world in 1999, at an altitude of 7,874 feet (2,400 meters) near Lake Geneva.
His wing on his back, the 4 jet-engines turned on, he jumped out of the balloon’s basket. He flew a few minutes to stabilize his wing and find the optimal angle to perform two loopings before landing safely with a parachute.
This flight has been achieved with Yves Rossy’s new wing, smaller (2 meters instead of 2.5 meters) and without unfoldable parts. This new prototype, designed by Yves and the RUAG Company, possesses a better aerodynamic profile and more stability.
The 51-year-old former fighter pilot and extreme sports enthusiast has since flown across the English Channel and last year tried to cross the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain. That attempt ended in failure when Rossy ditched in the sea due to strong turbulence.
The hot-air balloon in front of which the flying man accomplished his achievement is named “Esprit Breitling Orbiter ”. On its board, the British balloonist Brian Jones, winner of the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight in 1999, manoeuvred with precision the balloon in order to make Yves Rossy’s looping possible.
“It was fantastic,” said Yves Rossye in the comments posted on the website after Friday’s test flight. “The flight went well, despite a little problem when starting my engines. I was able to do my two loopings and I am very happy.”
The Swiss newspaper ’20 Minutes’ reported that Rossy had not however gone through with an initial plan to fly a complete circuit of the hot-air balloon for “technical and security reasons”.
Rossy said he is still hoping one day to fly through the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but is waiting for permission from U.S. authorities. [via Jetman]