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This time Jetman appears
in the skies over Rio de Janeiro!

It has already been a year since Faust A.G. brought you the story of Swiss adventurer Yves “Jetman” Rossy’s flight over the Grand Canyon. With wings and engines strapped to his back, Jetman has flown straight into the news yet again. His location now: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city. Here, we bring you an exclusive interview with Rossy and reveal his surprising new plan.

© Bruno Brokken/ Breitling SA

Rio de Janeiro takes pride in the unique topography of its sightseeing areas, with mountains, the sea and the lagoon. Many call it one of the world’s three most beautiful ports. Rising 710 meters above sea level, the view from Corcovado is absolutely divine, and a giant statue of Christ, 40 meters tall and 30 meters wide, built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Brazil’s independence, towers above the hill.

On the morning of May 2, a man flew like a bird around the statue fondly known by all as the symbol of Brazil. That’s right—it’s Jetman! Once in the sky over Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, with fixed wings and four engines strapped to his back, Jetman fell backward away from the helicopter. After engaging his engines mid-flight and immediately adjusting his body's position, he looped around Corcovado, passed over Rio’s Ipanema and Copacabana areas, and then over Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar). After flying through the sky to his heart's content, he opened his bright yellow parachute to land on the shore of Copacabana. Jetman, after his 11 minute, 35 second flight, was grinning from ear to ear under the clear blue sky.

This is the same Jetman who said in a press release that “it would be difficult to find a city more beautiful than Rio de Janeiro.” Once again, Jetman was kind enough to give a phone interview to Faust A.G. and tell us all about what his flight was like. “It was really different from the flight over the grand canyon. Rio is a big city with many people. And the environment was completely different. The water, the sea, the mountains. It was fantastic. What was fantastic was the presence of the statue. Flying in front of Christ the redeemer, it seemed like it was just him and me. It was very spiritual to be face-to-face with such a symbol of peace.”

© Bruno Brokken/ Breitling SA
© John Parker/ Breitling SA
© Bruno Brokken/ Breitling SA
© AP/ Breitling SA
© AP/ Breitling SA
© AP/ Breitling SA

By simply shifting his gaze upward
And bending backward like a banana,
Jetman soars higher

It's easy to see by watching his flight that he is able to fly with complete freedom, but what he is doing in actuality, defying gravity by hurtling through the air at speeds of 200 to 300 km/h Nevertheless, he is of course still human. In a flight so fraught with danger, is there any way he can possibly be enjoying the scenery?

© AP/ Breitling SA

“Of course!” he answers. “The beginning and the end of a flight takes a lot of concentration. But in the time between, it's really just the greatest feeling. I take in the scenery below, look around to figure out where I am, and just enjoy the flight. Rio's contrasting greens and blues are the most beautiful thing from the air. And even though I go at speeds over 200 km/h, you can try to imagine the feeling as more like riding a motorcycle. It's basically the same. Turning is also the same. To go right, I just turn my eyes and lean my head and shoulder to the right just a little bit. When I want to climb, all I have to do is look up and bend back sort of like a banana .”
Those who have never taken part in any kind of airborne sport can imagine that it's roughly the same thing that happens in snowboarding. It's the feeling that you can change directions just by shifting your weight slightly. Rossy explains his flight as similar to that.
“I'm relaxed. I don't really need to use all the muscles, I’m just cool. I don't feel the weight of the wings on my shoulders. I'm free, just like a bird. But since my wings don't move, I suppose I'm more like half bird and half airplane,” Rossy laughs.

Just like Superman

The 53-year-old Rossy began these projects with the thought that he wanted to fly like a bird, and even now he continues to achieve new developments in flying. After his successful flight over Rio, Jetman returned to his home in Switzerland. Then, on June 22, he decided that he would execute a flight side by side a vintage Douglas DC-3 propeller-driven airliner, surprising the roughly 20 passengers on the airplane. From inside the small windows of the plane, the sight of a scene straight out of a Superman movie got the passengers all kinds of excited. We wondered if for Jetman, who usually flies free and alone, this flight in such close quarters with an airplane and its passengers would cramp his style at all. We were surprised by his answer.
“The flight was amazing!”
He was excited. “As I got closer to the plane, I could start to see the shock on the faces of the passengers who had seen me out the window. I was really just happy to see how affected they were by it. On top of that, this was the first time that I had ever flown so close to a plane, so I was really moved by that experience, too. Because, in order to be able to fly with a plane, you have to be able to get up as high as it is. It isn’t easy. But if I have another chance, I want to do it again ,” he continued. How crazy would it be to look out the window of an airplane one day and see Jetmen flying?
“If what I do can touch somebody’s heart or lift their spirits, then that makes me very happy. That’s one of the reasons that I keep taking on new challenges,” he says. Rossy loves an adventure, and when he sees that his adventures move others, too, his happiness in that makes his spirit rise to even more challenges. In this cycle we can get a curious glimpse at one part of why his adventures have continued to enchant and delight people so far, always exciting others.

Rossy flying alongside a touring plane (C)Katsuhiko Tokunaga – John Parker

Is Jetman coming to Japan?

During our phone interview, Jetman let Faust A.G. in on some big news. Rossy says he's planning a flight in Japan!
“I'm thinking I'd like to do a flight in Japan next year. Probably around Mt. Fuji, I suppose. But you know, you can't just show up and say, 'OK, I'm going to fly!' The formalities are very complicated. Right now we’re in the stage of getting preparations in order. I would love to be able to give people the pleasure of seeing me fly through the skies of Japan,” Jetman said. We can’t wait to see how his flight here goes!

© John Parker/ Breitling SA


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