Swiss 'JetMan' cancels Grand Canyon flight

6th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss adventurer dubbed "JetMan" canceled an attempt Friday to make an acrobatic flight over the Grand Canyon, saying he had not been able to train enough for the exploit.

Yves Rossy also said his energy had been sapped by wrangling to obtain authorization for his winged jetpack from US federal aviation authorities, who only approved it at the last minute.

"I was so focused on getting the authorization, I thought I would be able to fly anyway. And I ended up forgetting that I should put my energy into the flight and not on trying to get the authorization," he told AFP.

And he added: "To be trained you have to make at least two or three flights. There is an enormous number of helicopters in the Grand Canyon, and it's very difficult to stop them."

"I never had the opportunity to train seriously," he said.

Rossy, 51, was to have been dropped from a helicopter high above the world-famous US landmark and made a series of loops, powered only by a winged jet-pack, before landing on the floor of the immense geological fissure.

Last November he performed a similar feat in the skies above the Swiss canyon of Vaud.

In September 2008 Rossy, whose jet-pack can reach speeds of around 200 kilometers (124 miles) an hour, gained international attention when he became the first winged person to make a successful crossing of the Channel.

A former Mirage III fighter pilot, Rossy -- who has previously been dubbed "RocketMan" and "FusionMan" -- flies using a science fiction-style rocket pack powered by four jet engines.

While his Channel and Swiss flights were successful, Rossy failed in a November 2009 attempt to cross the Straits of Gibraltar between Africa and Europe.

He ended up in the sea after high winds and clouds forced him to abandon the bid, although he was fished out safely.

© 2011 AFP

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