Monthly Archives: February 2013


Yves Rossy: Fly with the Jetman

There is something about going on vacation that wipes the mind.  It could be the change in environment that makes you more attentive or maybe it’s the absence of the routine stresses that are in our day to day but that feeling of relaxation one comes back with should be bottled and sold.  Positive attitudes are good too, I hear.


My flight back was hampered by one of the worst snowstorms to occur in Toronto in quite some time.  Flights were cancelled and delayed and I had to face the unfortunate circumstance of returning a day and a half later than I had originally planned. 


The beauty of that is that I had another day to simply relax and enjoy where I was. 


I think this TED Talk evokes some of the same feelings.


Yves Rossy: Fly with the Jetman



I really like how the TED Talks changes formats every now and then.  Rossy isn’t expected to come up with a ten minute presentation to create a bond of trust with his audience and then bring about why he is there or to explain some abstract concept.  The video does all the work for him.


Within a few minutes we’re all dreaming of how dangerous the act is, how the sense of flying must be exhilarating, and that we live in an amazing age. 


As per any TED Talk, I’ve got a fair share of questions in my mind that I will try to answer.  So let’s begin.


Two ways to Get your own Jetpack Engine and Wings


1)     Be Yves Rossy.


I’m pretty certain Rossy wasn’t sitting down having a Vanilla Latte at Starbucks where a group of engineers from Jet Cat and sponsors from Breitling appeared asking if he’d like to leap out of a helicopter and try to go all Superman.  Rather this is the accumulation of Rossy’s work and dedication towards the project.


Rossy’s own website: details his history of wanting to fly.  Back in the 90’s there were several inventions of controlled maneuvering, the skysurf, wingsuit and inflatable wing and from these Rossy had the idea to power a wing using model jet engines.






Inflatable Wing:  Probably the best explanation and descriptions of inflatable wings I could find was this paper about tensairity structure.  Although another way to describe it is a really LIGHT wing.*/107170


Just to go over the jet wings some more (I had an obsession with aerodynamics when I was in grade nine), the carbon wing Rossy developed was something of his own design.  Looking at pictures, it doesn’t look that much different in material than that of an attachable carbon car spoiler but I can’t tell for certain.


Rossy himself, has a history of flying planes both routinely and also in dangerous or risky situations.  Born in Neuchatel, Rossy was a fighter pilot in the Swiss Air Force and later became flew commercial flight for Swissair and Swiss International Air Lines.


It was in 2004 that Rossy had developed the 3m-span carbon wing and would steadily improve it over the years.  It would be two years later that he would have successfully flown with two jet engines.  The prototype with 4 jet engines was fully realized in November 2006.


Rossy continues to fly and work on his wings today.  This TED Talk was filmed in July 2011, so I wouldn’t be that surprised that Rossy is finding a way to integrate Google glass prototypes or LiquiGlide into the flight suit and wing.


2. Become a Competitive Wingsuit Racer


The wingsuit flying championships are held in China each year (since 2012, so just last year) where competitors speed along at breakneck speeds.




Of course, the goal is simply to get the wings, ideally sponsored by a company vested in your racing career.


Afterwards, you can use racing proceeds to order a kerosene jet engine from JetCat engines (note: the Breitling engines, as described in the talk, appear to be sponsors not creators of the engine but I’m having trouble confirming)


Now without the wing design to merge the two together properly, this is a ‘fail video’ ending with receiving a Darwin award but I’m pretty sure the gift of flight is there.


Then again, so would sitting on a catapult. 


(Holy crap, doing a search for human catapults brings up dozens of the machines both used professionally, home made and a mess of accidents.  There might be a tiny chance someone else will go the distance to building their own wingsuit / wings / jet engines but it appears 1 in 3 people are willing to launch themselves medieval style.   I’m terrified to link any posts in fear of copy-cat-ing, or as they’re more properly known as, “copy-pulting”.)


Except maybe this one:

(Go to 2 minute mark if impatient)


(Mental note: I don’t know why but I feel really Canadian right now)


Grab some duct tape, have a beer and share,



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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized