This Wednesday Yves Rossy became the first man to fly as a jet powered human fuselage. His wing is powered by 4 rocket engines and is steered by moving his body like a hang glider, no sissy ailerons here!

As if this wasn't enough he threw in a few figure eights and a barrel roll to, "impress the girls". A comment I saw on YouTube says it all:

How can he fly with cajones that big?


Not that this activity is without danger. Check out this video to see a pilots eye view of a near disaster. (You can skip to about 8:00 if you aren't impressed by the breathless music and stereotypically Latin TV host. The interviews with Yves are in English and the action needs no explanation)

In the video Yves loses control and spins upside down and then into a death spiral headed straight for pavement. He doesn't ditch the wings and deploy his chute until 1500 feet! The announcer is freaking out as he should be but Yves is calm enough to describe exactly how and why he lost control while his chute is still attached and blowing in the wind! This guy is incredible.

Of course this story was buried by the numerous natural disasters this week and a generally insular and anti-science press here in the States. (I caught it on the BBC). And Yves speaks french so, of course, no American should feel the need to congratulate him.

You can check out the history of this endeavor on his website FusionMan, Wikipedia or the excellent Wired article on him. There are also tons of videos on YouTube.