GRAND CANYON WEST, ARIZONA (May 10, 2011) -- It was his date with destiny, and ultimately the uniquely complex certification process could not prevent Yves "Jetman" Rossy from making his historic flight through Grand Canyon West this past weekend.
Flying his jet-propelled wing attached to his back, and steering only by movement of his body, Rossy launched from a helicopter at 8,000 feet into the breathtaking blue of the Grand Canyon sky. Skimming the rockscape at speeds of up to 190 mph, Jetman sustained flight for more than eight minutes, 200 feet above the rim of Grand Canyon West. To end the flawless precision flight, Rossy deployed his parachute and gracefully descended to the canyon floor.
An earlier flight scheduled for Friday, May 6 was cancelled when final FAA certification was held up due to the difficulty in classifying Mr. Rossy's one-of-a-kind jet-powered wing. By the time the process was complete, sufficient practice flights were unable to occur prior to the scheduled 9 a.m. flight.
"My first flight in the U.S. 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 stated. "Thank you Mother Nature and the Hualapai Tribe for making my lifelong dreams come true."
Jetman has already won global acclaim for his successful jet-powered flights cross Lake Geneva and the English Channel. But this was the first time he had ever achieved his dream of flying in the purest sense in the U.S. – and his choice of the Grand Canyon, where eagles soar, reflected the deep significance of the site both to Rossy and to the resident Hualapai people.