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Achieving HVTOL

Swiss skydiver Yves Rossy, who is also an airline (B-747, Airbus 320), fighter aircraft (Mirage III), hang glider and paraglider pilot, nudged his most ambitious project a little closer to a successful conclusion. Prior to the end of 2019, he was able to log one of his most significant flights ever.

Given Yves' extraordinary career in flight, it gets more and more difficult to qualify his exploits as watershed moments. There were almost too many over the past 20+ years to consider them all. In any case, he had himself a genuine "Kitty Hawk" day on 19 December 2019, 116 years and two days after the Wright brothers made their first sustained flight.

For the first time ever, the original "Jetman" took off from — and landed back on — terra firme. Until now, Yves was brought to altitude by aircraft and he landed by parachute. With the procedure for autonomous take-off and landing established, it is now down to transitioning from vertical to horizontal attitudes and back for the ultimate jet-powered human flight at speeds beyond terminal velocity in free fall. Yves calls the procedure "HVTOL" for "Human Vertical Take Off and Landing."

Between the two decisive stages of the flight he describes his perception: "I feel like in my Mirage III at the time, except I'm just a little guy with a wing on his back who plays plane like a kid with his body movements."


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