back to article Strap-on jetwing birdman does an Icarus into Straits of Gibraltar

Renowned backpack birdman Yves Rossy has suffered yet another mishap during an attempt to fly across the Straits of Gibraltar. Windy conditions were blamed by organisers after the Swiss daredevil plunged into the sea minutes after leaping from a small aircraft above Morocco, having intended to land in Spain. Yves Rossy soars …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Hermes Conran

    Lift > Mass = Flying, Lift < Mass = Falling

    I'm afraid our intrepid birdman is just falling with style, Where's my jetpack?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      lift != thrust

      Not quite. It's got 200lb of thrust, which is different. That's all you can count when you're doing a vertical takeoff obviously.

      However once you're in level flight you can gain lift with a wing, which means you can carry a weight much larger than your engines can hold alone against gravity. Of course aeroplanes get a nice nice runway in order to build lift, so I suppose he could lie on his face on some kind of trolley and run along the ground until the wings can generate enough aerodynamic lift in order to take off.

      Of course that has the minor problem of separation from the trolley, where you might accidentally break your ankles. Perhaps some carbon fibre wheels strapped to his chest and feet would do the job. He could try landing on them too, but I'm sure it would be suicidal.

      I seem to recall it's lift + thrust > drag + weight then you fly, else you do like the sheep Harold, who not so much flies, as plummets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Hermes Conran

      Just because his fuel is not infinite? surely by your use of this definition nothing can fly?

      At full throttle the lift is greater than the mass, but he only has 5 minutes of fuel!

      Watch the videos on youtube you will see that it is capapble of altitude increasing flight. admittedly short bursts!

      He launches from altitude because take off velocity is not achievable on the ground, but by free falling it is able to achieve the required velocity. There is also a required altitude for safe deployment in which to deploy the wings and ignite the engines, and still have enough safty margin to jettison and deploy parachute if required.

      This is not a Wingsuit attempt - that is more akin to falling with style,

  2. Stevie


    Notice 'ow 'ee don't summuch floi, as plummet.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    In my book... doesn't count as flight unless he takes off from the surface (land or water) and returns to the surface. Otherwise he may as well just be using a parachute.

    Come on now, Bleriot didn't get an assist did he?

    1. Paul 4


      Alot of Birds cannot take off from the ground, but need a cliff or tree to jump of.

  4. Joe User

    Intercontinental flight?

    From Morocco to Spain - yes, I guess that technically it does qualify as "intercontinental".

    What's next - a flight through a Ural Mountain pass in Russia so he can claim to have flown from Europe to Asia?

    1. Martin 47

      Europe to Asia

      Or he could just 'fall' across the Bosphorus

  5. Sergey 1

    He sustains flight, i.e. speed and altitude, for considerable time

    Crossing the Channel with a hangglider has been done way before Rossy, and landed without a parachute

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge


    Pretty much every aircraft (except helipcpters) are not VTOL.

    some sort of running start, like a hang glider perhaps?

    1. Michael Shaw

      practicalities of free flight...

      Hmmm, jet powered wing that flies at 150mph foot launching from a paragliding / hangliding site... Assuming that the pilot was capable of foot launching and avoiding the paragliders sitting in the ridge lift, (something which scares enough hanglider pilots) then boy would the wake turbulence bring a few paragliders out of the sky rather fast....

      BTW, from memory, in level, constant flight the equation is: lift / drag = weight / thrust...

      or, you need a weight /.thrust ratio equivilent to the lift/drag ratio for your wing to maintain level flight.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    A flying/falling Frenchman!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Europe to Asia

    Of course, Istanbul, Turkey, Europe to Istanbul, Turkey, Asia would also count as Europe to Asia.

  9. Fractured Cell

    A Memorable Quote from Buzz Lightyear:

    "Tins isn't flying - Its falling, With Style!"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ask and ye shall get?

    a Playmobil Reconstruction

    Doubleplusgood if it includes the Plastic Bottle Boat

  11. martinX


    I love your subheadings. It's like reading a cryptic crossword answer and trying to work back to a question. Beautiful. Sublime.

    1. Count Ludwig

      Just went back for a look - FLOL

      ..and lots of other TLAs wit an extra F (FFLAs?)

      I think a list should be maintained of some of these wonderful sub-heads. It should be voted on by all of us, and sorted in order by highly paid consultants using an excell spreadsheet.

      My favourite, or just the best I can remember, was an article about poncily named, blatantly corruptly privatized, defence firm QinetiQ going IPO for £1.3bn*. The sub-head was: "Qinell".


      I love you Reggie!

  12. Anonymous John


    Wouldn't Asia to Europe be easier?

  13. Graham Bartlett

    User-friendliness of controls?

    I can introduce you to a large number of hang-glider pilots who regularly fly serious distances with no more controls than weight-shifting. It's no less user-friendly than steering a bicycle (although of course it's a lot easier to stop a bicycle). The more likely problem with Rossy's contraption is that it's inherently unstable, which would stop it ever being a practical tool. Of course, it looks cool for stunts though.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to unpowered wingsuits that do the job properly, allowing you to land without needing a chute. That'd be way cool.

  14. Noodle

    Fair play to the bloke... can't deny the testicular girth required to jump out of a plane with a plank of carbon fibre and a jet engine strapped to your back.

    That or he's a sandwiches short of a picnic.

    Either way, the world's a more interesting place with people like him around :)

  15. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    as they say.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022