Swiss Adventurer Yves Rossy Brings Us Closer to a Real Rocketeer
Jet Man may not be the name of a Mega Man villain, but it is the nickname of Swiss inventor and aviation enthusiast Yves Rossy. Pictured above is Rossy's Jet Wing in action, which brought him international fame as the first man to "achieve sustained human flight using a jet-powered fixed wing strapped to his back," according to Wikipedia. On November 5, Rossy added another item to his list of accomplishments, becoming the first man to perform two aerial loops. Rossy's stated goal is to fly over the Grand Canyon in Arizona using his equipment.
We here at ComicsAlliance couldn't help but think Rossy's aerial acrobatics were very similar to a beloved superhero from the, The Rocketeer. So we took a closer look at their origin stories.Although he wasn't the first superhero to take flight with a jet pack (that would probably be Buck Rogers), The Rocketeer was one of the most prominent. In The Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens's obituary, The New York Times had this to say about The Rocketeer's origins:
"In 1982, Mr. Stevens created the Rocketeer as a backup feature in a Starslayer comic book published by Pacific Comics. Mr. Stout said that Mr. Stevens's inspirations for the comic were a combination of his love of the 1930s, early aviation, the film-serial hero Commando Cody and Bettie Page, the 1950s pinup model, on whom he based the hero's love interest, Betty."
In the comics, Cliff Secord, The Rocketeer's alter ego, comes upon his jet pack after discovering it hidden on board his plane. From there he goes on to fight crime and, since the comic was set in the late '30s and early '40s, Nazis. In the 1991 Disney film, The Rocketeer, Cliff Secord is a stunt man and mechanic who finds a mysterious package containing a rocket pack designed by Howard Hughes in one of his employer's planes.
The movie version is closer to how Yves Rossy got into this business of personal flight. Both men are pilots and both are stuntmen. Although Secord is a mechanic, Rossy is an inventor.
"In 2004 Yves Rossy developed a rigid deployable 3m-span carbon wing. The early days were difficult but promising. The pilot worked on improving the wing deployment system and the aerodynamics of the wingtips to improve its stability. In 2005, he completed two successful flights under a wing fitted with two jet engines A long year of hard work and the addition of two additional jet engines were needed for the wing to attain the required level of performance and safety. This prototype with 4 jet engines, guided only with the movements of his body, allows a stabilized ascension of the flight. This was the flight of November 2006, in Bex, a dream lasting 5 minutes and 40 seconds."
For those wondering if you'll ever get a chance to fight crime as The Rocketeer, or do some stunts like Yves Rossy, we have good news. That is, if you're filthy rich. Designer Glen Martin has created a personalized jet pack that you can purchase for just over $80,000. On the plus side, we don't think a replica of The Rocketeer's mask will cost you that much, although goggles are highly suggested. You can't look cool fighting crime with bugs in your eyes.