Real-Life Rocket Man Takes Flight Over English Channel

The best part of any superhuman story is when our fledgling hero, having recently discovered his or her powers, totally has fun with them. Think of Iron Man tinkering with his ever-evolving Mark suit, or Spider-Man figuring out how to web-sling. This morning, in the crystalline blue heavens, Swiss airline pilot Yves Rossy felt a similar rush when he strapped only a jet-powered wing to his back and navigated his bad-ass self in the air from France to England. Crossing the 22-mile English Channel in a mere 13 minutes, the 48-year-old Rossy is said to have simply moved his head and back to steer the gizmo—made of eight-foot carbon-composite wings and kerosene-fuelled jet turbines—and landed by parachute. Wearing only a heat-resistant suit and helmet, he was moving at upwards of 125 mph. Remarked the sky captain, who took a similar, if shorter, joy ride above the Alps four months ago:

I was under tension. But fear? The day I fear, I don’t go.

If you’d like to watch the record-making flight in action, MSNBC has handily provided some footage, with a Matt Lauer play-by-play at no extra charge. (Alternately, you can turn down the volume and space-out to William Shatner’s vintage cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”) Next up for the real-life Rocket Man: soaring above Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Talk about flying like an eagle. Photo courtesy of ducaduca.


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