The video features Yves “Jetman” Rossy and his protege Vince Reffet, both of whom wear custom-designed carbon fiber jet wings with a six-foot wingspan, powered by four JetCat P200 engines delivering 52lbs of thrust, for an average speed of 125mph.
The result is unlike anything we’ve seen before. This isn’t a bit of a cruise over the city skyline, it’s a stunning display of high speed aerobatics performed by two incredibly skilled, but clearly insane, adrenaline junkies. It’s like the dogfighting sequences in Top Gun, if Maverick and Goose decided their F-14 planes were just a bit too cumbersome, and left them back on the carrier.
Comparing the 55-year old Rossy to one of the Top Gun pilots is fitting. He has flown everything from Hawker Hunter and Mirage fighter jets for the Swiss Air Force, to commercial Boeing airliners for Swiss International. He discovered skydiving when he was 30, but was frustrated by the fact he was only falling, not flying. For the next 20 years, he has refined and flown 15 different versions of his jetpack.
Rossy is joined in the video by 30-year old Vince Reffet, who has been under Rossy’s wing (sorry) since 2009, being trained and mentored to continue his legacy. Reffet is a gold-medal winning skydiver, an experienced BASE jumper, and a canopy pilot.
This isn’t a hobby for Rossy, it’s a full-time thing. He apparently left his job as a Swiss International captain six years ago. Since moving to Dubai late last year, he often makes two flights in a day. A helicopter takes him up to 7,000 feet, he jumps out, free-falls to gain speed, then lights up the engines.
The thrust is enough to propel him to over 160mph. “It’s very effective,” he told the National, and in what sounds like a considerable understatement adds, “I tell you, you can feel it.” He uses subtle movements to steer the jetpack, and controls the thrust with a small control he holds in his hand. What’s it like when the jets start firing? Rossy said, “That’s the magic moment when you change from something that falls to something that flies.”
Rossy calls the epic Dubai flight ‘the next chapter’ on his official Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what comes next.