x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

‘Jetman’ joyrides around Mount Fuji

Swiss aviator Yves 'Jetman' Rossy, whose jet-engine powered wings have taken him over some of the world’s most awe-inspiring places, has added another — Japan’s Mount Fuji.

Jetman drops from a helicopter to fly near Mount Fuji. Katsuhiko Tokunaga / Breitling SA/Handout via Reuters
Jetman drops from a helicopter to fly near Mount Fuji. Katsuhiko Tokunaga / Breitling SA/Handout via Reuters

TOKYO // Swiss aviator Yves “Jetman” Rossy, whose jet-engine powered wings have taken him over some of the world’s most awe-inspiring places, has added another — Japan’s Mount Fuji.

“It’s a fantastic privilege to be a little mosquito flying in front of that big mountain,” the 54-year-old former Swiss air force pilot said Wednesday.

Mr Rossy, with a 60 kilogram kit strapped on his back, circled the country’s highest and most revered mountain nine times over one week until last Sunday.

In each flight lasting about 10 minutes, he dived from a helicopter, soared as high as 3,657 metres and parachuted back to earth from an altitude of around 800 metres.

Mr Rossy designed and built his own jetman system — a backpack with carbon-fibre wings spanning about two metres, powered by four attached jet engines modified from large model aircraft engines.

It can reach speeds of 300 kph.

The seasoned aviator, currently a captain with Swiss International Air Lines on sabbatical leave, said the 3,776-metre Mt Fuji had been an awe-inspiring location.

“It’s really impressive. It’s a perfect form, a huge mountain, a huge volcano, a presence that you can feel on ground and also in the air.”

In previous stunts Mr Rossy has crossed the English Channel, flown over the Grand Canyon and soared above the scenic Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, as well as flying in formation with jet aeroplanes and a Spitfire fighter.

* Agence France-Presse

Watch “Jetman” fly over the Grand Canyon with his Breitling Jet team in the video below.