Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy has flown into the history books by crossing from France to Britain on only a jet-powered wing, describing afterwards how he felt "like a bird" over the English Channel.
A Swiss adventurer flew into the history books Friday by crossing from France to Britain on only a jet-powered wing, describing afterwards how he felt "like a bird" over the English Channel.
Yves Rossy, 49, touched down in a field on top of the white cliffs of Dover after completing the 35-kilometre (22-mile) journey over one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
"I have proved it is possible to fly like a bird," he said with a big grin, adding: "My aim (was) to realize the dream. You have an idea in your head, and to actually achieve it is the most gratifying thing you can do."
Asked how he felt, he joked: "It's a mixture of ecstasy and trying to stay concentrated -- because I was thinking, the water is pretty cold down there."
With the carbon wing strapped to his back, Rossy had leapt out of a small plane at an altitude of 2,500 metres over the French coast before jetting off at speeds of more than 200 kilometres per hour.
Against a backdrop of picture-perfect blue skies, he ended his adventure around ten minutes later by cutting his engines and deploying a green and blue parachute at an altitude of some 1,500 metres over the English coast.
After landing in a ploughed field, the daredevil was visibly thrilled as he was helped out of the wing structure into which he had been strapped for the flight.
"It was great. I feel a lot more calm now than before the flight. It was perfect conditions," he said, after being mobbed by journalists who peppered him with questions.
Rossy had never flown for longer than ten minutes and had to calibrate his equipment and weight to perfection since even the addition of a few hundred grammes would have affected his flying ability.
His trip was broadcast live by two light aircraft and two helicopters which flew alongside him across the channel.
Although it appeared perfect, in fact Rossy did not arrive at the intended landing site -- apparently after he tricked his support staff.
"He didn't land where he was supposed to because at the last minute he played a trick on me," said Jean-Marc Colomb, pilot of the plane which dropped Rossy over the French coast and then tailed him across the Channel.