Swiss 'JetMan' makes Grand Canyon flight

10th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss adventurer has finally made a "historic" jetpack-powered flight above the Grand Canyon, organizers claimed Tuesday, days after he canceled a bid saying he had not trained enough.

Yves Rossy, dubbed "JetMan," completed the eight-minute flight at the weekend, his support team said in a press release four days after Friday's failed attempt, which journalists had been invited to watch.

Pictures and videos released by organizers showed him being dropped from a helicopter and then soaring above the world-famous landmark, his jet-pack wing strapped to his back, before deploying a parachute to land on the canyon floor.

He flew at speeds of up to 190 mph (304 kilometers an hour), skimming the rockscape just 200 feet (65 meters) above the rim of the canyon, the statement said.

"My first flight in the US is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life, not only for the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon but the honor to fly in sacred Native American lands," Rossy was quoted as saying.

"Thank you Mother Nature and the Hualapai Tribe for making my lifelong dreams come true," he said according to the press release, referring to the Native American tribe over whose territory he made the flight.

On Friday the 51-year-old -- who has previously flown across the English Channel between Britain and France and over the Swiss Alps -- invited media to a remote spot on the Grand Canyon's western end to watch his flight.

But at the last minute he announced he had only just been given formal Federation Aviation Authority (FAA) approval to fly, and had therefore not had enough time to train.

On Tuesday Rossy's organizers stressed that the FAA delay had prevented him from flying last Friday, adding that he had made the successful flight over the weekend, without announcing it to journalists who attended Friday's attempt.

"It was his date with destiny, and ultimately the uniquely complex certification process could not prevent (Rossy) from making his historic flight through Grand Canyon West this past weekend."

© 2011 AFP

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