Mr. Rossy, 51, has used his jet-wing to fly across the English Channel and Lake Geneva in the past. He failed in his attempt to fly across the Strait of Gibraltar in 2009. The BBC reported at the time that Rossy had to ditch the wing in the water and be lifted by helicopter to safety. The Las Vegas Sun reported that Rossy has flown for the Swiss air force and as a commercial pilot for Swiss International Air Lines. This marks his first endeavor in United States airspace.
The jet-wing flies at an average speed of 125 mph and measures more than eight and a half feet across. Rossy's appointed time for takeoff was moved from 10 am PDT to 9 am to take advantage of wind currents, according to the Grand Canyon On-Demand blog.
As listed on futurecars.com, the specifications of the jet-wing are: 4 Jet-Cat P200 engines of 48.5 lb (22 kg) thrust each, with a top ascent speed of 112 mph and a descent speed of 186 mph. Its weight including fuel is 121 lbs. The harness system is a cut-away with an engine shut-down and auto-opening parachute.
Grand Canyon West is located on the Hualapai American Indian Reservation in Northwest Arizona, approximately a 2.5-hour drive or 30-minute flight due east of Las Vegas. There have been some reports of confusion about the location of the JetMan flight, with tourists eager to attend the event thinking that the National Park was the site of Rossy's flight. The flight is expected to occur near Guano Point and Eagle Point at Grand Canyon West.
JetMan and the sponsors of the flight have taken care to work with the Federal Aviation Administration in order not to disrupt active commercial air traffic on Friday. Rossy is sponsored by Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling ,who revealed to media that it has been working with Rossy and the Grand Canyon West caretakers for more than two years to bring this to fruition.
A travel website reports that the flight plan is as follows: Rossy will jump from a helicopter and fly along the rim of the canyon, then parachute to the canyon floor where another helicopter will retrieve him. To follow Rossy's exploits and learn of upcoming flights, you can find his website, here.
Grand Canyon West's most popular and famous attraction is Skywalk. It is a glass walkway and deck that extends over the canyon some 4,000 feet from its floor. Opened in 2007 it has become a big hit with tourists and increased crowds at the park. Financed by a third-party, not the Hualapia tribe, its price tag was $30 million to construct.
The fee to enter the park to watch the JetMan flight will be no different than usual. The basic price is about $43.00 per person with a premium of some $40 to experience the Skywalk. Tourists can enjoy white water rafting, hiking and sight-seeing vistas that are breathtaking. For more information about the Grand Canyon West and the Hualapai nation, visit their website, here.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Skywalk at Grand Canyon West