Yes people, it’s another “person in a jetpack” flies around for 30 seconds video, but this one… this one is special. It features “Jetman” Vince Reffet putting on a demonstration of the next major milestone on the path toward fully “autonomous” human flight; i.e. the ability to take off from the ground, soar into the skies, and land again without the aid of any kind of aircraft or parachute at any point. And ooooweee does it look surreal when a person shoots off into the firmament like Superman on a mission.
Jetman Vince Reffet flying over Jumeirah Beach, Dubai.
A clip of the stunt—slash act of human defiance toward the will of gravity—comes via New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali, who spotted the video on one of Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed’s social media accounts (it’s unclear which one). The full 4K video above is the real treat though, with a complete look at Reffet’s flight through Jumeirah Beach, Dubai from test run to takeoff to parachuted landing.
It’s difficult to imagine what Reffet must’ve been feeling during the flight, which saw him go from hovering to flying through the air at an altitude of 3,280 feet and a speed of 150 miles per hour all in a 30-second timeframe. And for the adrenaline-soaked pièce de résistance? Reffet pulling off a roll and loop at about 5,900 feet, before opening his ‘chute and nailing the designated drop zone like a SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable booster.
Th demonstration is a part of the “Mission: Human Flight” project, which ultimately aims to have somebody pilot a jetpack with full autonomy. According to Gulf News, in order to attain full autonomy, a person needs to take off, fly through the air “at altitude,” and then land all without the use of any kind of aircraft, elevated platform, or parachute. Which means all the Human Flight team has to do to complete its mission is figure out how to land a person using the jetpack from say, 5,000 feet up. That sounds easy, right?
For more sweaty palm-inducing action there’s also the below video of Reffet and Fred Fugen, who both hail from France and have ridiculous skydiving credentials, soaring the the skies around Tianmen Mountain in the Hunan Province of China. And even though this flight began with the Jetmen leaping from a helicopter, it’s no less impressive. In fact, possibly more so, as they soar through a literal cave in the mountains seemingly without losing a drop of speed.
Reffet and Fugen flying around Tianmen Mountain in Hunan Province.
Although Reffet is the Jetman for now, it seems the OG Jetman, Ahmed Hassan Alshehhi will be the first human to achieve fully autonomous human flight. That demonstration, which will doubtlessly be even more spectacular if successful, will probably happen at Expo 2020 in Dubai, a six-month World Expo event that will explore themes of “Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.” And, apparently, the first iteration of The Rocketeer.
What do you think about this (almost) fully autonomous human flight demo? Would you ever strap on a jetpack like this one, or are you a little bit too down-to-Earth for that kind of proposition? Fly away with your thoughts in the comments!
Header Image: XDubai