On Friday 14 February, Jetman pilot Vince Reffet successfully launched into the air from the runway of Skydive Dubai and flew up to 1,800m altitude travelling at an average speed of 240kmh!
This milestone proved that Jetmen can now fly directly upwards from a standing start without the need for an elevated platform.
Reffet was equipped with a carbon fibre wing powered by four mini jet engines. This equipment enables the Jetman to reach speeds of 400kmh, as well as hovering, changing direction and performing loops.
At the end of his three-minute flight, Reffet performed a roll and a loop at 1,800m altitude, before opening his parachute at 1,500m and landing back at Skydive Dubai.
Previously, Jetmen have launched into the air by leaping downwards off elevated platforms such as a helicopter in flight. This included a jaw-dropping stunt in late 2019 – also part of Expo 2020’s Mission: Human Flight programme – as Reffet and fellow Jetman Fred Fugen soared through Tianmen Cave (aka ‘Heaven’s Gate’) in China’s Hunan Province.
This is the first time that a Jetman pilot has combined hovering safely at a low altitude and flying aerobatics at a high altitude in the same flight.
Three engineers – Mohammed Rashid Chembankandy from India, André Bernet from Switzerland and chief engineer Matthieu Courtois from France – developed the pioneering technology that helped make this stunt possible.