Zooming Around the Alps In a Homemade Wing Suit
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, July 4, 2008
CRANS-PRES-CELIGNY, Switzerland -- Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's . . . Fusion Man!
Make that Yves Rossy, a 48-year-old Swiss daredevil also known as Jet Man, Rocket Man, the Bird Man of the Alps.
Thanks to his homemade, jet-powered wing suit, Rossy can flash through the air at a Superman-like 186 mph.
on May 14, high above the Alps near the Swiss town of Bex, Rossy put it all on the line. He invited journalists and camera crews and promised a mind-blowing show, fully realizing that if he flamed out or crashed, they'd portray him as a world-class fool.
At an altitude of 7,700 feet, he dropped out of an airplane, his 120-pound wing suit strapped around his shoulders, back and arms. He gassed the throttle and off he went: soaring across the sky at race-car speeds as a helicopter tried to keep up so it could videotape his performance.
After a flight of slightly more than five minutes, with fuel running out, Fusion Man pulled the cord on his chute and floated gracefully to the ground, landing on his feet.
Saturday, December 20, 2008