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Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."


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Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight

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  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) * on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:34PM (#30227886) Homepage

    Did he cross the English channel to speak with Elton John so they could sing "Rocket Man" together ? ;-))

  • He already failed (Score:5, Informative)

    by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:36PM (#30227928) Journal
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article6931566.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

    Better luck next time.
  • Why the rockets? (Score:2, Informative)

    by oldspewey ( 1303305 )

    Tow me to 6500ft in a high-performance glider and I will traverse the straits of Gibraltar easily ... without carrying rockets or motors of any kind.

    Call me when he starts doing these stunts taking off from the ground under his own (carried) power.

    • Your high performance glider probably has a much bigger wingspan than the 8ft of the jetpack.

      Taking off from the ground isn't all that interesting. It just means he'd need enough extra thrust and fuel to get off the ground and up to his target height. If you're really going to get into a snit about it all he'd need is to tack on some JATO/RATO units to do that but that doesn't test the endurance of the main jetpack, so meh, not a big deal in my book.

      And I'm sure the Bell X-1 breaking the sound barrier was n

    • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:52PM (#30228942) Homepage

      He uses a jet-powered wing because it's a fucking jet-powered wing strapped to his back, and that is awesome.

      That is not difficult to understand.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's indeed awesome, but it would be awesomer and potentially awesomest if he base-jumped off a cliff on the African side, and jetted across the Strait to land on the European side.

    • call me when your high performance glider can do that averaging 130 MPH (+live person, +no oxygen).

  • Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Cool story bro.

  • And he failed. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dk90406 ( 797452 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:40PM (#30227980)
    Due to "difficult winds" he dropped into the Ocean after completing half the trip. The entire trip was, for reference supposed to last 15 minutes and span 38 Km, He was picked up by a rescue chopter and is reportedly unharmed.
    • by maxume ( 22995 )

      You mean he was not damaged any further.

    • I actually RTFA and the cause was "Sterzel said the wing malfunctioned, possibly due to engine failure".

      Which I find kind of funny... ...because when you are flying what is essentially a wing, with an engine strapped to it... that's a pretty much catastrophic (total) failure.

      Well at least the parachute worked (sounds like it was the only thing that did), so I guess it wasn't a total loss.

  • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:40PM (#30227990) Journal

    Dammit, this is why you're not supposed to reveal your secret identity. He could have been a superhero with a wide array of crazy gadgets, but now if we see some crazy guy with a jetpack stopping crime, everyone will know who it is. :(

    • by V50 ( 248015 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:42PM (#30228016) Journal

      On second thought, the guy in the picture is bald, so if that's him, I'd say he's more likely to end up as a supervillian. Might be for the best.

      • That’s better anyway. You get to live below a volcano, and yet still own a city or something like that. You get some really hot chicks, and there are no stupid social rules like “you can only have one at the same time”. In fact... well... you get this giant superweapon, and no rules at all. Unlike a superhero who always has to adhere to the social rules (which are just made up anyway).
        You can have thousands of minions, I cool lab or hightech company to finance the project, and maybe some m

    • by dr_dank ( 472072 )

      So he's not the man they think he is at home?

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:40PM (#30227992) Journal

    I'm not actually sure. But I think so?

    Anyways, Wake me up when he tries like... Beijing Capital International to LAX

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by interploy ( 1387145 )

      Anyways, Wake me up when he tries like... Beijing Capital International to LAX

      Seriously. Okay, so technically the Straight of Gibraltar separates two continents, but this is not an intercontinental flight. The Spirit of St. Louis made an intercontinental flight. The article title is BS. If they want to use "intercontinental" to describe a distance, then there had damn well better be an ocean involved.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by asylumx ( 881307 )
        The Spirit of St. Louis was a TRANS-ATLANTIC flight.
        • Yes, but last I checked, North America and Europe were different continents, so it was both trans-Atlantic and transcontinental.

          Regardless... The point is that the term transcontinental is *usually* used in reference to distances much greater than the width of the strait. Thus using it in the title, while technically accurate, is misleading.
          • Err... I meant intercontinental. Transcontinental would be travel over the width of the same continent as you started.
  • by quangdog ( 1002624 ) <quangdog AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:42PM (#30228014)
    I'm sure there is significant engineering effort involved in creating something like a personal jetpack, but he's still jumping out of a plane at altitude and essentially gliding with a bit of a boost from his jet engines along the way.

    Being a lazy American, of course I did not rtfa, but I did take the time to look up just how far he'll actually fly: looks like about 12 miles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quangdog ( 1002624 )
      Ok, so then I went and rtfa, and it claims he'll fly 23 miles. Then I checked google earth, and it lists the distances between the 2 locations mentioned in the article as 19.3 miles.

      As others have said, I'll get excited when he can go from, say, New Jersey to the Oregon coast (with an in-flight movie along the way).
      • by Goaway ( 82658 )

        He can do that when he buy a ticket on an airliner.

        Somehow I think he's having quite a bit more fun doing what he's doing now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Alastor187 ( 593341 )

      I'm sure there is significant engineering effort involved in creating something like a personal jetpack, but he's still jumping out of a plane at altitude and essentially gliding with a bit of a boost from his jet engines along the way.

      Engineering is about solving problems with practical solutions. You are assuming he didn't consider what it would take get of the ground using the jet pack. But I would assume he did look at the issue, and found that it would significantly increase the cost, weight, and risk by launching from the ground.

      If his end goal is just to fly around, then to solve the problem of take-off he probably reasoned the best solution was to use existing aircraft to get to the proper altitude. Then just figure out how to g

      • This leaves me wondering exactly what the "gee whiz" factor is then. Part of what makes a personal jet pack neat is the fact it is self-contained transportation. Just strap on your cool superhero/supervillian pack and go fly places. The portability factor suffers more than a little bit if you also need to bring along an airplane ... oh and an airport when it can take off ... oh and a pilot to fly the thing and land ... but aside from those 3 items we are ready to get into some mischief with this jet pack th

        • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:48PM (#30228884) Journal

          He's evolving down from "skydiving" to a workable personal jetsuit, rather than up from "rocket skating." An early iteration had no engines at all, just a delta-wing personal glider (and it could probably be considered as an incremental improvement over the "wing suit" which came after the "balloon suit"...)

          It's just safer this way. If he fails, he's ditches the wing and activates "plain old skydiving" mode with a parachute. If he'd started from the ground on the first try, there are dozens of places where a failure means death without any fall-back options at all.

          In previous interviews he has stated than an eventual goal is to do a complete flight including takeoff.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      This could probably be done more easily _without_ the engines.

    • makes me wonder if similar could ever become commercialized. IE you have a plane that can drop hundreds of these at precise coordinates. Every plane flight becomes a one way trip, every traveler purchases/rents a enclosed pod with wings and gps controls, crawl in at the airport. The plane just flies down the middle of the country when your closest to desired destination the plane drops your pod out at 20k feet, it glides/propels to the exact location you want. When you ready for the return flight it's l

  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:50PM (#30228104) Homepage

    Calling 23 miles "intercontinental" seems disingenuous. I mean, I could drive down to Mexico and make an "intercontinental" jump of 1 foot... But labeling it as such is just stupid.

    • by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:57PM (#30228190)

      Calling 23 miles "intercontinental" seems disingenuous. I mean, I could drive down to Mexico and make an "intercontinental" jump of 1 foot... But labeling it as such is just stupid.

      I know as American's we're supposed to hate Mexico, but they are still on the same continent as the US.

      There are a few good examples of short intercontinental flight that would make it even more trivial which you could have used. The Suez Canal and Bosporous would be suitable candidates.

      • I know as American's we're supposed to hate Mexico, but they are still on the same continent as the US.

        I disagree. As a typical American, I like Mexicans and I have no problem when they come down from up North with their Molsons to play hockey.

        Hey Mexicans! Pretty day, Eh?

        Yep, I've been around a bit. I've even been to Alaska to see Russia.

        • I know you're joking, but even the people from Leno's "Jay-walking" bit would unlikely to mix up an average Canadian with an average Mexican.
      • by Improv ( 2467 )

        I've never heard that we're supposed to hate Mexico - where do you get that from?
        Also, there is no apostrophe in "Americans".

      • by XaXXon ( 202882 )

        I'm pretty sure the idea was that FROM mexico, you could jump to South America, but the correction was made that Mexico doesn't touch South America, so no dice.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:58PM (#30228202) Homepage

      I mean, I could drive down to Mexico and make an "intercontinental" jump of 1 foot... But labeling it as such is just stupid.

      Not until Mexico conquers Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama, you can't.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is it more stupid than thinking Central America is a continent?

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        No, he's saying he can make the southern side of the Panama canal by hopping off only one of his legs from Cancun.

    • Actually you would be making a "intracontinental" jump since both the US and Mexico is within North America.

      You would need to drive to Panama and jump over the international border with Columbia for it to really be "intercontinental".

      • I was too busy being pedantic to say that your point is still very valid.
      • Actually, the continent is still America. North, Central and South. It is one continent.

        Otherwise, he could just jump from Mexico to Belize (N.A. to C.A.) or something like that.

        • Then you would say that Africa, Asia, and Europe are one continent as well?
          • Asia and Europe, probably. That's why lots of people call it Eurasia, including geographers. They even have two "cross-continental" countries (Russia and Turkey).

            Africa I guess is another beast entirely.

            • Sorry for replying to myself.

              Just to complete my sentence about Eurasia. I forgot the former soviet republics.

              So the list of countries in both Europe and Asia is:
              Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

              Not to mention that Cyprus and Armenia, although in Asia are sometimes considered Europe for some reason.

              • by Igmuth ( 146229 )

                I'm always confused as to how people can consider the isthmus of Panama to not be enough to separate the Americas into two continents, but at the same time the Suez isthmus is twice as wide, but yet makes Africa a separate continent.

                • Hmmmm. I can't claim to be right here, but in my opinion the most likely explanation is as follows:

                  Maybe because the Panama isthmus is a continual strip of land. If one wants to arbitrarily cut the American continent in two, it could be cut anywhere in Central America. And the division raises a lot of questions about Panama. Why should it be part of North America? Why not part of South America? Why not split the country?

                  In the case of Suez peninsula, it is much more of a "touching point" between two huge la

    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      And what continent would you jump to from Mexico ?

    • Besides the above point, I wouldn't call it "intercontinental" because he didn't leave from a continent. He left from a plane 6500 feet above the continent. Hell, starting from that high you could probably sail an unpowered glider across the straight of gibraltar.
    • But labeling it as such is just stupid.

      Not just stupid, also wrong. Last time I checked Mexico was still part of the North American continent...next time drive down to Nicaragua and jump there.

    • I could fly 2000km and not leave Canada, let alone the US, let alone North America.

      It is a stupid thing to say. I can fly unassisted intercontinental, by walking up to the line, and jumping over it. There, I can fly intercontinental unassisted... lame.

    • I mean, I could drive down to Mexico and make an "intercontinental" jump of 1 foot... But labeling it as such is just stupid.

      Actually, you'd need to drive down to Panama, but the principle does still hold.

    • I mean, I could drive down to Mexico and make an "intercontinental" jump of 1 foot

      If it's any comfort, my first thought when I read intercontinental was across the Channel from England to France. Bad day for geography I guess.

  • he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth."

    Want to impress people? Do it by taking off from the ground.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      A guy designing and building a personal jetpack, jumping out of a plane a 6,500 ft, and flying 15 miles in high winds at 130mph... DOES NOT IMPRESS YOU????

      Yes, calling it "interncontinental" is exaggeration. But it is still impressive.

  • balls!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by visionsofmcskill ( 556169 ) <vision AT getmp DOT com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @01:56PM (#30228168) Homepage Journal

    I think he could probably fly a whole lot farther if it weren't for the drag created by his monstrously huge friggin balls.

    that is one brave dude

  • What is the definition of intercontinental? The flight was supposed to be 20 miles. That is not much... There are places were continents are so close together, so you can jump :-) the distance. If he goes Tokio to LA with his suite, i'll be impressed.
  • Never mind the first intercontinental jetpack flight, the guy invented a whole new engine!
    • Nah, the telegraph invented the four cylinder jet pack. The experimenter just used four run of the mill jet turbine engines.
  • Gross! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Spazztastic ( 814296 ) <spazztastic&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:16PM (#30228420)

    Incontinental? Ewww. Put this in idle, please...

    Wait, what? Intercontinental? Ohh! Nevermind...

  • I'm amazed how critical we all are of this stunt, over nitty-gritty details like not taking off from the ground, or being "only 23 miles". Sure, the article has a bit of questionable information, but no matter how you look at it, this guy is full of awesome and has far more balls than most of us. The design and the execution of these stunts is far from trivial.
  • by HishamMuhammad ( 553916 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:22PM (#30228484) Homepage Journal

    Do I keep his jet-powered wings? Are they useful for beating other bosses or is he too hard and I should get some other weapons first? Do you guys think I should defeat him before or after Cutman?

  • ...to avoid customs. I mean how many customs agents are going to be looking for him now?

  • That's not flying, that's falling with style...

  • short of a trip for him to pull a Steve Fossett.

"No matter where you go, there you are..." -- Buckaroo Banzai