May 132011

Yves Rossy, the former Swiss jet fighter pilot better known as Jetman, flew over the Grand Canyon last Saturday (May 7th) using his wearable jet-propelled wing.

It was the first time he has flown with the device in North America, having previously used it to cross the English Channel, perform an aerial loopfly in formation with stunt planes, and to unsuccessfully attempt traversing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between Morocco and Spain.

The Grand Canyon flight was originally supposed to take place on Friday, with many onlookers and journalists gathering for the event on that day. Rossy didn’t feel adequately prepared, however, as he had only received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just moments before he was scheduled to fly. The FAA had only learned of his planned flight through media reports, as Rossy hadn’t realized that he required their approval.

On Saturday, however, Yves launched himself from a helicopter hovering at an altitude of 2,440 meters (8,005 feet). He then proceeded to fly at speeds of up to 300 kph (186 mph), 60 meters (197 feet) above the rim of the Grand Canyon West in the Guano Point region. The area is governed by the Hualapai Native Americans, from whom Rossy had previously received permission for his flight.

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