Jet daredevil flies across English Channel on a wing
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Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy becomes first person to cross English Channel using jet-propelled wing strapped to his back

Live blog of the flight as it happened

* James Randerson, science correspondent
* Friday September 26 2008 14:42 BST
* Article history

Yves Rossy is soaked in champagne by team members after landing at the South Foreland lighthouse at Dover

Yves Rossy is soaked in champagne by team members after landing at the South Foreland lighthouse at Dover. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy today became the first person to cross the English Channel using only a jet-propelled wing trapped to his back.

After two previous attempts were postponed because of bad weather everything went to plan for Rossy's 9 minutes and 32 second flight. He was helped on his way by a tailwind that cut his flight time by around two and a half minutes compared with his calculations before the attempt.

As he crossed the White Cliffs of Dover just after 1.05pm Rossy even had enough fuel left in the four kerosene-burning turbines powering his self-designed, homemade device for some celebratory aerobatics to entertain the crowds gathered below.

He then deployed his parachute and drifted gently downwards, waving his legs excitedly. Rossy's ungainly face-in-the-dirt landing contrasted with the elegance of his high-altitude flight through the crystal blue autumn sky.

The self-styled FusionMan declared that he felt "great, really great" shortly after touching down from the historic flight. He said he dedicated the achievement to his support team who had made it all possible.

"Because I am the only one who did cross under this wing, but so many people crossed with me I want to say 'thank you'," he said.

The 49-year-old former fighter pilot who now flies for Swiss International airlines, was taken to a height of 2,500 metres by a Pilatus support plane which, once he jumped out, guided him on his route.
There was also a search and rescue helicopter on hand in case he landed in the sea, and another helicopter to film him in the air. Another plane flew above him to relay the pictures.

Rossy said he wanted others to have the same experience. "Next is to continue this project. I am so happy," he said when he reached the ground.

"With that crossing I showed it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird. I am full of hope there will be many in the near future."

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