Yves Rossy is pilot with experience with the Dassault Mirage III and the F-5 Tiger in the Swiss Air Force, and with the B747 for Swissair. However, he is most known for being an aviation inventor rather than a former combat pilot. In fact he is the first person who was able to fly using a jet-powered fixed wing strapped to his back. A jet pack which led him to be named “Jet Man”.
After his first flight, dating back to November 2006, with his self developed back pack system, that includes also semi-rigid carbon-fiber wings and four attached jet engines, Rossy set several records: he flew across the English Channel, over the Alps and across the Grand Canyon.
However not all his attempt were successful. In November 2009, he failed to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and ditched into the sea to be rescued minutes later by a support helicopter few miles from the Spanish coast.
His last achievement can be seen in the video below. The Jet Man flew in formation with two L-39C of the Breitling Jet Team in what I believe was the first mixed human-airplane echelon formation ever!
According to the information available on the Internet, he once again used a helicopter as a flying platform. After jumping off the chopper he adjusted his flight path and altitude using his body movements and then performed some aerobatic maneuvers above the Swiss Alps alongside the two jet planes.
The following video is not only a gift for the “geekend”: it raises some interesting questions about the possible use of jetpack-propelled soldiers to infiltrate special forces behind the enemy lines across a heavily guarded No Fly Zone. Low observability, reduced noise levels, almost nonexistent radar cross section, small IR footprint: just imagine how difficult it could be to detect a formation of “jetpackers”.
In future robot wars fought by remotely controlled unmanned drones and robots, a jetpack similar to the one used by Yves Rossy could be the only way to postpone the final extinction of the word “manned” from the vocabulary of military aviation.
There is also another possibility suggested me on Twitter by Tim Robinson, Editor of Aerospace International the flagship magazine of the Royal Aeronautical Society, with the current financial crisis, the jetpack could be the low cost fighter jet of the Eurozone air forces…..