In the world of high speeds, Yves 'The Jetman' Rossy can certainly keep up with Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi. The man seems to have accomplished the impossible...!
Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi is pretty much the fastest Rossi around, right? Weighing in at 155 kilos dry and with about 250 horsepower from its 1000cc four-cylinder engine, The Doctor’s 2012 Ducati Desmosedici GP12 MotoGP racebike can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds and hit a top speed of more than 360km/h. So that pretty much settles it – Valentino is the fastest Rossi in the world. Or maybe not. Why? Because there’s also one Yves ‘The Jetman’ Rossy, and he goes very, very fast as well.
Born in Switzerland, the 53-year-old Yves Rossy used to be a fighter pilot with the Swiss Air Force and flew fighter jets like the Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs and Dassault Mirage III among others. He still flies a jet, just not one that he sits in. No, now he is the jet. Rossy has developed a carbonfibre wing that spans about two metres and which is fitted with four JetCat P200 jet engines. Strapped to his back, this wing lets Rossy fly. No, really, it does – just look at the videos on this page!
Using his jet-engined backpack, Rossy first flew in 2006 and has been improving his contraption ever since then. It’s now got to the point where it allows him to fly for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, at speeds of up to 300km/h. Rossy flew across the English Channel in 2008 and across the Grand Canyon in Arizona, in the US, in 2011, after getting permission from the United States Federal Aviation Administration, which now classifies his backpack wing as an aircraft.
The Jetman's jet-engined wing is a bit down on top speed compared with The Doctor's 2012 MotoGP bike, but beware, Yves Rossy is still working hard on making his backpack go faster!
Like The Doctor’s Ducati Desmosedici, The Jetman’s jet-engined backpack wing is an amazing piece of machinery. Spanning 2m and weighing a total of 55 kilos (dry weight is just 30kg), it’s powered by four JetCat P200 engines that run on kerosene and produce 22 kilograms of thrust each. With 30 litres of fuel on board, The Jetman can climb up at speeds of up to 180km/h, descend at speeds of up to 300km/h and maintain an average speed of 200km/h.
As it is now, Rossy’s jet-wing doesn’t allow him to take off from the ground – he has to take a helicopter or a hot air balloon to go up, after which he can fly away on his own. To come back to earth, he has to shut off the jet engines and deploy a parachute. However, Rossy continues to work on his jet contraption and hopes to make it lighter and more powerful. With continuous advances in jet technology, he hopes his wing will soon get to the point where it’ll allow him to take off from the ground, without any external assistance. In addition to Rossi, the MotoGP champ, we guess we’ve found another Rossy whom we can admire...