Jetman makes U.S. public debut at aviation convention


POSTED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 9:19am

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 9:19am

The Swiss pilot known as the "Jet Man" has made his U.S. public debut and he picked the Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to do it. Yves Rossy has spent his life, basically, turning himself into a plane, as Alex Ronallo reports,, the former fighter pilot is so far the only person to fly using a jet propelled wing.

It's a close as a human has come to flying like a bird. Yves "Jet Man" Rossy glided up and down, thousand of feet above the Airventure crowd, Yves Rossy, "I hope you had as much fun as I had, because it's completely unreal to fly like that between the clouds."

And it was just as unreal for those watching from the ground, Greg Newlun, Lakeland, FL Resident, "Because I fly in airplanes, I don't make myself one, that's insane dude!"

Rossy was a pilot in the Swiss Air Force and now flies commercial, but 18 years ago, after years of parachuting, he started working on what seemed like an impossible dream, flying independent of a place.

Yves Rossy, "That's really the core: nothing between me and air."

Now that dream is the 53 year-old's reality, he starts by jumping from a helicopter, then he flies for several minutes using a carbon fiber wing.

The wing has two jet-engines, but is controlled by Rossy's body and intuition, Yves Rossy, "These are the steering controls, hydraulics, cockpit."

And while the jet man is not technically a bird, he is a plane, sanctioned by the FAA. It took a lot of work for EAA to bring him to Oshkosh, because he doesn't fit the FAA's standard criteria.

Dick Knapinski: "Eventually they came up with 7 pages of single-spaced copy that they had to check off of, but they said 'okay' and we're happy he's flying here this week."

Rossy's happy too, "The Super Bowl of aviation, for me, it was a great, great moment to be here."

A moment Rossy hopes can prove to other's the sky's not the limit, "You have nothing to lose, to try, go ahead, try to realize your dreams."

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