10 Uplifting Inventions for Personal Flight


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Yves Rossey
© Denis Balibouse/Reuters/Corbis

Another human-powered aircraft to cross the English Channel was designed by professional pilot Yves Rossy. What makes Rossey's device different is the four jet engines strapped to his back. Each turbine is a modified version of the kind used in military drones. Besides these, every part of Rossy's "wing" is custom built: a fiberglass shell, carbonfiber skeleton, electronic control unit and tanks containing 3.5 gallons of jet fuel. Rossy controls the wing with his own body movements, steering by turning his head. It wasn't until 2007 that Rossy was sponsored by a Swiss watch company and no longer needed to spend his own money on the wing. He hopes there will be a time when he can produce a simpler model that can be mass-produced and flown by others with parachuting experience.