In Pictures: Jetman Soars Through The Dubai Sky In First Expo 2020 Mission

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
In Pictures: Jetman Soars Through The Dubai Sky In First Expo 2020 Mission

Humans have dreamed of flying ever since the beginning of history and now, this dream is turning into reality. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the crown prince of Dubai, posted a video of a man flying over the Arabian Gulf. Jetman pilot Vince Reffet is the man behind the heroic stunt. According to Sheikh Hamdan, this was a major milestone in the quest to achieve 100% autonomous human flight.

What’s It?

On 14 February 2020, Dubai’s skies witnessed something spectacular. A Jetman took to the skies, reaching an altitude of about 6,000 feet. The pilot took off from a pier in the Arabian Gulf, shooting up in the air in no time. He then performid a roll and a loop, before landing back in a parachute. Vince Reffet reached 1,000 meters of altitude in 30 seconds and the flight lasted for about three minutes.

The jetpack outfit, had a striking resemblance to Marvel’s Iron Man- minus the parachute landing, of course! The wing suit is fitted with four mini jet engines as well as a manually controlled nozzle to control rotations. The machine is capable of achieving speeds up to 150 MPH and can go from a standing start to 3000 feet in about 30 seconds.

Reffet underwent over 50 preparatory flights, and practiced taking off and landing under controlled conditions more than 100 times.

The breakthrough in the stunt however, was that the test flight took off from the ground, and not leaping from a helicopter or other raised platform. Reffet also mentioned in a statement that the next objective was to try and land back on the ground without a parachute. “One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after a flight at altitude, without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on,” he said.

Three engineers – Mohammed Rashid Chembankandy from India, André Bernet from Switzerland and chief engineer Matthieu Courtois from France – are the brains behind this pioneering technology.

What Else?

However, this is not the first time Reffet and his team performed such a heroic stunt. In 2015, Reffet along with his fellow pilot Yves Rossy soared through the Dubai skies. Take a look at the video:

The Jetman team includes Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen, both French athletes with an impressive list of accomplishments in the world of extreme sports. Vince and Fred will be supporting Ahmed Hassan Alshehhi, an award-winning athlete from the UAE, set to become the first Emirati to achieve autonomous human flight by 2020.

The 31-year-old has successfully undertaken 5,300 skydive jumps and his other skills in aviation include paramotor, excitor, paragliding and speed flying.

The ‘Mission: Human Flight’ is a project supported by Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE’s most awaited event for the year.