May 11, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond

This is an incredible video of Yves Rossy, the former Swiss military pilot, who became "Mr. Jet (or Rocket) Man".

Rossy is the real life version of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear (the heroic character with the jet pack, but without the laser on his arm).

You see Rossy invented a 120 pound wing suit, powered by 4 jet engines that enables him to fly like Superman through the air at speeds averaging 125 mph.

In 2006, Rossy flew for over 6 minutes over the Swiss Alps; in 2008, he flew over the English Channel between England and France for over 9 minutes; and in 2009 he attempted to fly over the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain.

Last week, Rossy wanted to fly over the Grand Canyon, but canceled beforehand, it is said because by the time he got FAA approval, he did not have enough time to practice.

Typically, Rossy jumps out of a plane, helicopter, or air ballon, flies like a bird even doing multiple aerial loops, and then lands by parachute.

Although Rossy flew for many years in the Swiss Air Force (including Mirage III supersonic fighter jets), according to the UK Daily Mail, he always wanted to get real with it as he says: "In a plane you are surrounded by computers and shielded from the air, but I wanted to fly naked."

What I admire about Rossy:

1) Courage to take it to the next level--Rossy doesn't accept the status quo; he is constantly "upping the ante" and trying to be accomplish the next great thing in aviation.

2) Innovates and invents--first thinking up the way he will do it and then developing the means to achieve it--he puts the planning and execution together!

3) Trains hard--he believes in making at least 2-3 test flights before actually attempting something new.

4) "No" is an acceptable answer when it's the right thing to do--when Rossy doesn't feel comfortable going forward, he's not afraid to say so and will stop the exercise and thereby avert possible disaster.

No longer is it just a child's imagination and a playtime event to stretch out one's arms and race around pretending to fly; Rossy is living the dream for all us and bringing new opportunities for future transportation to the fold.

One more thought: this could be the corollary to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)...this is the Unvehicle Aerial Man (UAM)--add this to the military's bag of tricks.


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