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THE SWISS FUSION MAN

On May 14, 2008, Swiss aviation enthusiast and inventor Yves Rossy became the first man in the world to fly with wings and four jet engines strapped to his body. The inaugural flight in Bex, Switzerland lasted six minutes.

The 48-year-old daredevil made his first public flight with his self-made flying device in front of the world press after five years of training and many more years of dreaming. Rossy stepped out of an aircraft at 7,500 feet in the air, unfolded the rigid 8-foot wings strapped to his back and dropped. Passing from free fall to a gentle glide, Rossy then triggered four jet turbines and accelerated to 186 miles an hour as a crowd on the mountaintop below gasped — then cheered. Steering only with his body, Rossy dived, turned and soared again, flying what appeared to be effortless loops from one side of the Rhone valley to the other. At times he rose 2,600 feet before descending again. Should things go wrong, there’s always a yellow handle to jettison the wings and unfold the parachute.

His mother, who was among the spectators, told journalists she felt no fear. "He knows what he’s doing." Paule Rossy said. "It’s like a second skin," he later told reporters. “If I turn to the left, I fly left. If I nudge to the right, I go right." Rossy said he is ready now for bigger challenges: crossing the English Channel and flying through the Grand Canyon.

("Swiss ’Fusion Man’ Flies Over the Alps With Jet-Propelled Wings" Associated Press, May 15, 2008. From a sermon by Victor Yap, "The Blessed Hope: The Rapture of the Church" 1/24/2009)

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