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Swiss Adventurer Flies English Channel on Homemade Jet Wing


Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy has become the first man ever to cross the English Channel strapped to a jet-powered homemade wing. For VOA, Tom Rivers in London reports on the hair-raising trip.

For real-life rocket man,Yves Rossy, it was a dream come true. To retrace the route of French pilot Louis Bleriot who 99 years ago was the first man to fly across the English Channel in an aircraft.

But the crossing for modern day adventurer Rossy, was very different.

Strapped to him was an 2.4-meter-long carbon-composite wing with four small kerosene-burning jet engines.

Dropped from a plane 2,400 meters above Calais, Rossy fired up his engines and headed in the direction of England. Flying at 200 kilometers per hour he crossed the 42 kilometer stretch of water in about 10 minutes.

Once over the white cliffs of Dover the Rocket man opened his parachute and down to earth he floated to the delight of the assembled onlookers gathered in a field.

For Rossy, absolutely everything went according to plan.

"It was the perfect flight, as planned. Really, everything worked as planned. Perfect. Like I wanted it and like all my team did prepare it. so, perfect," he said.

As he says once the preparation work was done, all that was left to do was to enjoy the moment and to soar like a bird. "I was really living it in the present and it is like in a dream, like you are with a big bird," he said.

But that is not the end of the story. Rossy wants to improve on his flying wing and he promises more adventures in the future.

"There is a big potential to improve everything," he said. "To be with the lighter wing, with better engines, to fly vertical, aerobatics. I am sure we are now technically ready to go in that way."

When not soaring like a bird, the 49-year-old still has his head in the clouds. In real life he is an airline pilot who flies the Zurich to Heathrow route.

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