Yves Rossy: The Closest Person to a Real Life Iron Man

In 2006 Yves Rossy became the first person to fly with a jet propelled wing. Yes, you read that correctly: a kerosene powered, jet turbine propelled, six foot wide wing that is strapped to one person’s back. To this day he is the only person who has done this.


Source: http://www.jetman.com/?page_id=869

Yves knew since he was a child that he loved flying and he wanted to become a pilot. He eventually accomplished this dream by becoming a pilot in the military. He loved flying so much however that he decided to experiment with many more natural forms of it including skydiving and wing-suit diving. This was not enough however. He wanted to do more flying and less falling so he invented his first wing which was a rigid harness with inflatable panels for wings that allowed him to “fall forward”. This led him to come up with the idea for a powered wing, similar to a jet pack.

From that idea, his first engine powered wing was born in 2005. It had two turbines and did not have enough power to propel him upwards, but enough to maintain level flight. Now he has a much more advanced wing powered by four turbines that allow him to do complicated aerial maneuvers and fly for 10-13 minutes at an average speed of 125 mph. After he has flown for about 8 minutes he pulls the cord that opens his parachute and he calmly glides back down to earth.

The fascinating thing about this design that distinguishes it from a miniature airplane is that the wing is strapped straight to Rossy’s back, and it has no control surfaces whatsoever. The pitch, yaw, and roll are entirely controlled by Rossy’s body movements and a throttle control that he holds in his hand. This type of control is very similar to wing suit diving and skydiving, and he plans to keep his future designs controlled in this same manner.

His current wing does not have enough power or control to take off from the ground so Rossy has to fly up in an airplane and from there he jumps out and starts his wings engines. There are rumors that he is developing the next generation wing that will allow him to fly from base jumping off of cliffs instead of having to fly up to a high altitude in an airplane. Already he has been able to do some incredible stunts including flying over the Grand Canyon and even flying in formation with other planes.

There are not many words that can describe my excitement about this technology. It is essentially the beginning of individual Iron Man flight suits and I seriously hope that I will live to see the day where I can buy one of these for myself.


Jet Wing vs Iron Man Capabilities

Not Yet



Rocket launcher




Helmet with integrated humanoid robot analyst




Incredible user controlled flight capabilities




 Source: Author



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5 responses to “Yves Rossy: The Closest Person to a Real Life Iron Man

  1. This man really is living the dream! I constantly find myself amazed at what mankind has built, and this is another tribute to science fiction come to life. I’m curious, do you know if he has others working with him on these projects? If this invention is already in use, and groups of engineers come together to continue developing it, the possibilities seem endless.

  2. Wow, that is incredible. Although the majority of Iron Man’s “powers” seem completely impossible to create in real life, do you think there will ever be personal flight capabilities closer to Tony Stark’s. On a side-note, I really enjoyed the visual aid!

  3. It is awesome how Yves took it upon himself to do so much research. I was wondering if he has made a career around this jet propelled wing or if he works on it in his spare time. Either way, I am sure it is all too easy for him to stay motivated. Does he have a team that he works with to develop and improve the jet propelled wing?
    I have never been skydiving, but if it is as exciting as I have heard, I’m sure this product will make it ten times better once it is commercialized.
    Thanks for the information!

    • nhkimura and rjgregg, as far as i know, Yves is sponsored by Breitling and he develops the Jet-Wings with the help of a team. All of the articles that I found were rather vague about the team he works with; apparently they are just known as the “jetman team”.

  4. I hope this comes to fruition before I am to old to own one. Flying an airplane is the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced, but if I can BECOME the airplane, you’d have a hard time keeping me grounded. Amazing.

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