By Los Angeles Times
The Swiss daredevil and former fighter pilot known as “Jetman” made his first public flight in the U.S. on Monday, strapped to a jet-propelled wing he designed himself.
“It’s like when you are skiing,” he says, “you do that move, and it turns.”
Rossy’s known for being the first person ever to fly using a jet-propelled wing. As his website details, he made his first official public flight in May 2008, flying over the Swiss Alps, followed by a flight over the English Channel in September that same year.
Monday’s flight at the AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., wasn’t his first in the U.S. In 2011, as the Los Angeles Times reported, Rossy made a sweep across the rim of the Grand Canyon, which came as a surprise to media.
He had canceled, then quietly made the flight without spectators or reporters present (and therefore not an “official” public flight). He told a Swiss news outlet at the time that he was nervous and cited the challenges of the Grand Canyon — “big air currents, steep walls.”
Rossy didn’t appear nervous after Monday’s exhibition. The pilot, who likes to share airspace with notable aircraft, flew alongside a B-17 bomber. Over the Alps, he was accompanied by two L-39C Albatros planes. And in 2012, he flew with a historic Spitfire MH434.
Rossy said he reached speeds Monday of about 119 miles per hour: “It’s fast, and you feel it.”
Rossy says the reason he flies is for the high: “That’s why we are living, to have this kind of emotion, this kind of moment of joy.”