October 13, 2015, will forever be the day that Yves Rossy aka Jetman Dubai and his equally gutsy companion, Vince Reffet took to the skies over the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, to perform one of the greatest stunts ever witnessed in Dubai's aerodynamic history: men flying (not falling).
Sky-high the men, in jetpacks, flew formation with an Emirates A380 airplane, proving that man's dream to fly was possible. The stunt itself lasted only a few minutes but the act went viral. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoun, the Crown Prince of Dubai, kick started the spectacle by snapping a picture of himself flying in a luxury Emirates jet in close proximity to an Emirates A380 plane, with the caption, "coming soon."
Using just a jetpack, the two embarked on the journey with one goal in mind: "To fly instead of to fall," said Yves Rossy. The jetpack itself has wings that span two metres wide, weighs up to 60kg when fully fuelled and can propel a person in flight whilst sustaining that flight for up to nine minutes. But it's all relatively new technology according to the men: "There's over a hundred years of experience in aerodynamics from the Wright Brothers but the technology in small engines, that could be affordable to everyone, is only 15-years-old."
With the rate at which technology is growing, Rossy looked to Dubai as the perfect platform to perform such as stunt, crediting the city with open-minded concepts. "It would've been really hard to get permission to fly in other places. Here, thanks to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, we can achieve those dreams in Dubai."
The jaw-dropping act took four months of intense planning. To prepare for the giant leap, Rossy and Reffet had a strict regime, which included keeping their weight to a maximum of 75kg. "We keep fit and stay in shape but we don't go to the gym regularly. A good diet is essential because if we put on weight then it can be an issue." Rossy and Reffet also teamed up with Emirates Airlines, who in turn worked with the local air authorities to ensure safety was paramount. "We also discussed the turbulence around the aircraft. After many meetings and simulations, we were very well prepared in the end," revealed Rossy.
So what were the limitations involved in the death-defying stunt? "We could have flown from the ground but we'd have to be on the roof of a really fast sports car travelling at 180 kilometres per hour," said Reffet.
"but if we have engine failure three seconds after lift-off, we are dead. We didn't want to take that risk. In aviation we always need to have a plan B."
Following suit came a two-minute video that showed Rossy and Reffet performing unthinkable manoeuvres, until now. Take a look...
Looking to the skies, Rossy and Reffet are full of inspiration, including plans for future thrills. "We have many projects so you can expect many things. Some are almost ready but it's a surprise." Stay tuned!