It could almost have been a scene from a superhero film… but what Yves Rossy did involved no special effects.
The Swiss daredevil – known as ‘Jetman’ – stunned passengers in a vintage plane by flying alongside them at 128mph for seven minutes, powered by his his amazing jet-propelled wing.
And although the 53-year-old is no stranger to such death-defying feats, this was the first time he had ever flown next to a passenger aircraft – in this case, a 1940s’ Breitling Douglas DC-3 over Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.
For his latest stunt, which took place last Friday, he was first dropped by a helicopter from an altitude of 6,000ft.
During his descent, the ex-Swiss International Airlines captain stabilised himself with his rigid carbon Kevlar backpack – the four-engined jet ‘wing’ he employs as if it were part of his body.
He then flew in close formation at 4,500ft at eye level with the twin-propeller aircraft’s occupants.
When the stuntman’s fuel ran out, he safely parachuted to the ground at Buochs airport.
According to his website, he became the first and only man in the history of aviation to fly with a jet-propelled wing in 2006.
Rossy was first a military pilot and then worked as a captain on commercial flights.
His website said he ‘has always dedicated all his free time to flight and experimented with all its forms’, creating a harness with inflatable wing panels that he subsequently developed into a rigid wing with four engines.
He has completed flights over the Swiss Alps – including Lake Geneva in 2002 – and, in 2008, he crossed the English Channel in the flight path of Louis Blériot.
His invention has now been refined, so ‘all he has is an altimeter for safety, and a tiny throttle control in his hand’.
‘Jetman’ Rossy flew fighter jets for the Swiss air force for 17 years.
His custom built flight suit weighs almost 55kg and has a wing span of two metres.
He has also previously soared over the Grand Canyon for eight minutes.