27 Sep 2008

Jetpack pilot crosses English Channel

8:40 am on 27 September 2008

A Swiss adventurer has become the first person to fly across the English Channel from France using only a jet-propelled wing strapped to his body.

Yves Rossy, 49, jumped from a plane 2,500 metres over the French coast, fired up his jets and soared over one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Steering with his body during the 10-minute flight, he parachuted to land in a field near the white cliffs of Dover.

He said weather conditions on Friday had been perfect and his success signalled "big potential" for people to fly "a little bit like a bird" in the future.

Known as "Fusionman," he was aiming to follow the route taken by French airman Louis Blériot 99 years ago when he became the first person to fly across the English Channel in a plane.

In Dover, Mr Rossy flew past South Foreland lighthouse - which the building's manager Simon Ovenden said Blériot used as a target during his pioneering flight - and looped onlookers before landing in a field.