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'Fusion Man' crosses English Channel successfully

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LONDON (BNS): Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy, strapped on a single jet-powered wing, on Friday became the first person to cross the English Channel in such a fashion.

"I showed that it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird," he said after successfully landing in Dover.

His spokesman said, Yves "Fusion Man" Rossy completed the "first ever solo flight across the Channel from Calais, France to Dover, England at 1.19 local time."

Rossy developed and built a winged pack with aerodynamic rigid aeroplane-type carbon-fiber wings with a span of about 8 feet, and four small kerosene-burning jet engines under the wings. The German Jet-Cat Company developed the engine.

Rossy, who is an Airbus pilot for Swiss International Air Lines, uses his body and a hand throttle to manoeuvre. The Swiss pilot said he is the "first person to gain altitude and maintain a stable horizontal flight thanks to aerodynamic carbon foldable wings."

Rossy first hit headlines on June 24, 2004 when he carried out the first successful trial near Geneva. Since then, he has carried out over 30 motorized flights.

Rossy was tracing the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot who in 1909 became the first person to fly an aircraft over the channel. Rossy today crossed the 22 miles in 13 minutes, at an average speed of 120 miles per hour.

Rossy ignited the engines of his jet-powered wings inside a Pilatus Porter aircraft. With his wings folded he jumps out, and then unfolds them as he falls. He flies horizontally for about six minutes and 30 seconds, and then unfolds his parachute to land.

Rossy wears a heat-resident suit to protect himself from the hot jet blast.

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