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Rocket man: How did a jet pack take Yves Rossy across the English Channel?

In a scene right out of an H.G. Wells story, a real-life Iron Man became the first person to cross the English Channel using a single wing and four-engine jet pack strapped to his back.

Yves Rossy, a Swiss who calls himself Fusion Man, used an 8-foot, lightweight carbon composite wing that weighed 120 pounds (55 kilograms) with fuel, according to Reuters. The 49-year-old commercial pilot followed the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot, who was the first person to cross the Channel in a plane 99 years ago.

"Everything was perfect," Rossy said of his trip. "I showed that it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird."

The rest of us — or at least those who work in defense and aviation — may get a chance to fly with a jet pack, too, as we reported earlier this year. At least two companies, Thunderbolt Aerosystems of California and Jet Pack International of Colorado, are working on personalized packs.

Whether those devices will measure up to Rossy's remains to be seen. He crossed the Channel in 13 minutes. Thunderbolt's "Thunderjet," currently in development, would allow its user to stay airborne for up to 35 minutes; Jet Pack International's version would keep users aloft for seven minutes. (Rossy used a prototype of his own that he may eventually market, according to the British Telegraph.)

Intrigued? Check out our jet-pack slideshow.

(Jet Pack International pilot Eric Scott flies a rocket pack high above Denver's city streets/Image courtesy of Jet Pack International, LLC)

 

 

 

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