Al Marsh

EAA confirms Jetman negotiations

January 9, 2013 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Slow flight for Grand Canyon cameras.

Slow flight for Grand Canyon cameras.

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.

Landing at the Grand Canyon

Landing at the Grand Canyon

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.

Rossy aims for his Grand Canyon target

Rossy aims for his Grand Canyon target

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.

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5 Responses to “EAA confirms Jetman negotiations”

  1. Pete Sweeney Says:

    Rossy’s Grand Canyon flight was not authorized by FAA! He fled the country to avoid trouble. Surprising if they let someone with a proven anti-authority streak fly at the busiest air show in the world.

  2. Dick Knapinski Says:

    Let’s be clear here, Pete. Our people have talked with him and his group, just as Al mentioned. Nothing is yet confirmed.

  3. Al Marsh Says:

    Rossy did have permission. I appreciate your comment because it resulted in reconfirming Rossy’s FAA approval. Here is what FAA Public Affairs Los Angeles spokesman Ian Gregor told me at 2:30 p.m. today, Jan. 10: “Yes, we ultimately authorized him to fly on a limited basis with a significant number of restrictions. The issue was he came to us with his plan at the last minute.”

    Mr. Gregor said he is checking for additional details, but said I could release his statement that Rossy did have permission. If he sends anything else I will post it here.

  4. Glen Matejcek Says:

    Negotiations? What does EAA need to negotiate / what will this cost the membership?

  5. Don Arnold Says:

    He’s a Swiss airline pilot. He makes a living with his certificate. Bet he’s a real rebel, you betcha.

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