Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Sheikh Hamdan congratulates Jetman team for dizzying Dubai Marina flight

A French professional skydiver flew 1,500 metres over Dubai Marina before opening his parachute

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, has applauded the Jetman team behind a high-octane human flight held in Dubai.

"A major milestone in the quest to achieve 100 per cent autonomous human flight. Well done, boys," the royal wrote, tagging Jetman Dubai and Expo 2020 in the video, which was recorded on Friday, February 14.

A separate YouTube video shoes the team, with French professional skydiver Vince Reffet behind the reins, taking off from the Skydive Dubai runway at sunrise. According to the XDubai YouTube page, it was the "first time that a Jetman Dubai pilot [was able to] combine hovering safely at a limited altitude and flying aerobatics at high altitude in the same flight".

In the video, Reffet hovers off the runway, then shoots into the air in the direction of Dubai Marina.

XDubai claims that in eight seconds Reffet had reached a height of 100 metres, 200m in 12 seconds, 500m in 19 seconds, and 1,000 in 30 seconds at an average speed of 130 knots.

"At the end of a three-minute flight, punctuated by a roll and a loop at 1,800m altitude, Jetman Vince Reffet opened his parachute at 1,500m before landing back at Skydive Dubai."

They add: "Controlled from the ground by the human body, the equipment enables Jetman Dubai to reach speeds of 400 kilometres per hour, as well as hovering, changing direction and performing loops."

Achieving human flight is one of Expo 2020's missions. The website reads: "Humans have dreamt of flying since the beginning of recorded history. And finally, this vision is turning into reality."

Explaining the quest to achieve 100 per cent autonomous human flight, Expo 2020 says: "There is a height range where humans cannot fly autonomously. It is called the grey area. By flying at altitudes never attempted before, Jetman is narrowing the grey area. And in 2020, it will disappear." It does not specify the exact altitude.

It adds: "The multinational [Jetman] team includes Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen, both French athletes with an impressive list of accomplishments in the world of extreme sports.

"Vince and Fred will be supporting Ahmed Hassan Alshehhi, an award-winning athlete from the UAE, set to become the first Emirati to achieve autonomous human flight by 2020. The 31-year-old has successfully undertaken 5,300 skydive jumps."

In a November 2019 test flight, Reffet and Fugen flew up to 50 metres from the ground near China's Tianmen Mountain. It was the first stunt for Mission: Human Flight.

Updated: February 17, 2020 05:48 PM

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