Jet flying without an airplane

Business Jet Traveler » December 2008
Yves Rossy flew over the English Channel with a wing that he steers by moving
Monday, December 1, 2008 - 4:00am

You've probably heard of very light jets-the diminutive personal aircraft commonly known as VLJs-but how about NAJs (No Airplane Jets)? Swiss pilot Yves Rossy recently flew across the English Channel with what was basically a jet-propelled hang glider strapped to his back. "Flying is a passion," said the 49-year-old Rossy, a former military fighter pilot who now works as a captain for Swiss Airlines. "I tried lots of sports, such as sky surfing. But I always wanted to fly like a bird."

Rossy has now done just that more than 30 times with his homemade carbon-fiber wing, which is powered by four engines originally intended for model airplanes. Located just inches from the hot exhaust during flight, he must wear a protective suit. The engines don't have enough thrust or fuel to carry a person aloft from the ground, so Rossy's flights begin with him jumping from an aircraft. Since the wing lacks a tail and control surfaces, he steers by tilting his head or turning his body.

For the Channel flight on September 26, Rossy planned to follow the path of aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot, who 99 years ago became the first pilot to fly across the Channel. After jumping from a single-engine airplane 8,000 feet above Calais on the French coast, Rossy completed the nearly 22-mile flight in 13 minutes at an average speed of 124 mph and parachuted to the ground near Dover.

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““CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work.” —David Yermack, a New York University finance professor, whose recently released study shows a correlation between when CEOs take their private jets on vacation and movements in their companies’ stock price ”

-David Yermack