A Swiss man with a jet-powered wing strapped across his back jumped from a plane at an altitude of 9,000 feet today, and blasted across the 22 miles that separate Calais, France from Dover, England. The adventurer, Yves Rossy, became the first person to complete a solo flight across the English Channel using a jet-powered wing, which he could steer only with the movements of his head and back. Rossy, whose day job is an airline pilot, traced the route of French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot who became the first person to fly across the Channel in a plane 99 years ago [The Mirror].
Like many other aviation enthusiasts before him, Rossy wanted to find a way for people to get as close as possible to flying like birds. He started working on the project about 15 years ago, building prototypes in his garage [National Geographic News]. He took his debut flight over the Alps in May, and has been gearing up for the Channel crossing for months. The successful feat, which was postponed twice due to bad weather, was broadcast live, and observed by crowds on both the French and English coasts.