Breitling, the legendary Swiss watch maker is a longtime sponsor of the Reno race and never fails to bring glitz, glamour and top-shelf performers to entertain the Race fans.
If you have an opportunity to visit the Breitling pavilion, you know what I mean… First you’ll be greeted by a stunning Bentley, then pretty girls – ready for a picture with you, a bright yellow Cap 232 plane flown by world renown aerobatic pilot David Martin, and if that isn’t enough, inside, the mother lode: awesome Breitling Watches and the Sterling Silver Unlimited Class Trophy.
This year, Breitling sponsored Swiss born phenom, Yves Rossy, aka“Jetman.” This one-of-a-kind aviator amazed the audience in his self-designed jet-powered “Wing” flying at speeds up to 190 mph for the Race Fans.
His stunning aerial performance couldn’t be 100% appreciated because the FAA mandated Rossy stay a certain elevation above the crowd, thus, making his silhouette against the sky small and difficult to comprehend. Is the little speck skipping through the air really a man with wing, two jet engines, and a parachute strapped to his back?
Once he opened his chute and circled for landing, you began to grasp a man had just flown through the air like a surface-to-air missile, dangerously high and freaky fast.
The depth of his courage and fearlessness when flying 190 mph through the clouds is a testament to the strength of his engineering and design abilities and the methodical steps taken to test, calibrate and continuously improve the aerodynamics of his Jetwing.
Rossy designed the customized Carbon-Kevlar Jetwing and outfitted it with four engines, each of which is capable of 22 kg thrust. The engines are controlled by a simple hand-held throttle that looks like a bicycle part – watch for them in the video – and he uses his body to steer, allowing his shoulders, body and legs to pitch and descend.
This forward-thinking technology has led Rossy in achieving many outstanding feats in recent years, including a soaring flight above Rio de Janeiro, aerobatics from the Breitling Orbiter Balloon, a flight across the English Channel and even formation aerobatics with the Breitling Jet Team.
For me personally, flying next to the B-17 Flying Fortress was the most incredible – it doesn’t look real, and makes relevant the technological and aviation advancements over the last 50 years.
For the future, Rossy is looking forward to working with a protégée in Europe in anticipation of formation flight and the continued design development for the ultimate fling wing. I wonder what that will be…imagination, what a gift.
Good Luck and God’s Speed to Ives Rossy and for Mankind’s Enduring Desire to Fly like a Bird.
Kimberley West for WarBirdBabe