Yves Rossy, the former Swiss jet fighter pilot better known as Jetman, flew over the Grand Canyon last Saturday (May 7th) using his wearable jet-propelled wing. It was the first time he has flown with the device in North America, having previously used it to cross the English Channel, perform an aerial loop, fly in formation with stunt planes, and to unsuccessfully attempt traversing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between Morocco and Spain.
The Grand Canyon flight was originally supposed to take place on Friday, with many onlookers and journalists gathering for the event on that day. Rossy didn't feel adequately prepared, however, as he had only received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just moments before he was scheduled to fly. The FAA had only learned of his planned flight through media reports, as Rossy hadn't realized that he required their approval.
On Saturday, however, Yves launched himself from a helicopter hovering at an altitude of 2,440 meters (8,005 feet). He then proceeded to fly at speeds of up to 300 kph (186 mph), 60 meters (197 feet) above the rim of the Grand Canyon West in the Guano Point region. The area is governed by the Hualapai Native Americans, from whom Rossy had previously received permission for his flight.
After eight minutes in the air, he deployed his parachute and descended safely to the canyon floor.
"My first flight in the US is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life, not only for the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon but the honor to fly in sacred Native American lands," Rossy was quoted as saying. "Thank you Mother Nature and the Hualapai Tribe for making my lifelong dreams come true."