EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski has confirmed that talks have taken place to have Yves Rossy, the Swiss pilot who flies with a wing on his back and a prayer in his brain, perform during EAA AirVenture 2013. His only flight controls are, like Superman, his body and a throttle for his jet engines. By adjusting his legs and moving his arms, he can perform a loop when and where he likes. He has flown in formation with a Douglas DC-3.
There are still details to complete, including an agreement with Rossy’s main sponsor, Breitling. “I am optimistic,” said Knapinski. Known as Jetman, the airline pilot uses four JetCat P200 jet engines intended for model airplanes. In this country, JetCat distributors grit their teeth and hope no one will attempt to copy Rossy’s carefully engineered flights. The engines are intended to power model airplanes, not humans. In Germany, where JetCat is headquartered, the company is an enthusiastic sponsor.
Rossy has flown down the Grand Canyon after the FAA classified him as an airplane. As this is written, he is preparing to perform at air shows in New Zealand. He has enough kerosene mixed with five percent turbine oil to fly 10 minutes. He averages 107 knots but has gone faster. When it is all over, he pops his Parachutes de France Spectra 230–another fine sponsor–and steers to a target on the ground. If he needs to dump the wing, it has its own automatic parachute, but usually he lands with the 66-pound wing still attached. The wing’s takeoff wing weight, accounting for the mixture of fuel and oil, is 121 pounds.
An FAA official in Milwaukee said Rossy’s act must still be approved for an AirVenture appearance. Previous approval by the FAA for Rossy to fly the Grand Canyon has no bearing on the AirVenture decision, the official said. However, starting the flight at a high altitude and ending with a pinpoint parachute landing are generally reassuring factors to FAA officials.