Swiss man crosses English Channel on wing, no prayer needed

A Swiss man landed safely in England on Friday after using a jet-propelled wing to fly across the English Channel in less than 10 minutes.
Switzerland's Yves Rossy flies with a jet-propelled single wing over the Alps in Bex, Switzerland, in a May, 2008 file photo. ((Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press))
A Swiss man landed safely in England on Friday after using a jet-propelled wing to fly across the English Channel in less than 10 minutes.

Yves Rossy, 49, who calls himself the "fusion man," leapt from an airplane above the French port of Calais at an altitude of more than 2,600 metres, and sped through the air at 185 km/h, said the CBC's Ann MacMillan from London.

He parachuted onto a field near Dover, England, at 8:15 a.m. ET after completing the 35-kilometre trip in less than 10 minutes.

Rossy spent eight years designing the carbon composite-wing, which features four kerosene-burning jet turbines and weighs about 55 kilograms when loaded with fuel.

Rossy had to steer the rudderless contraption with his head and back, said MacMillan.

He wore a heat-resistant suit similar to that worn by firefighters and racing drivers to protect him from the heat of the turbines. The cooling effect of the wind and high altitude also prevented him from getting too hot.

The former pilot flew across the Channel in honour of Louis Blériot, a Frenchman who in 1909 became the first person to successfully pilot an aircraft across the English Channel.

With files from the Associated Press