‘Jetman’ stuns with Iron Man-style flight over Dubai

Daredevil Vince Reffet hovered five meters above the crystal waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline. (Expo 2020/AFP)
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Updated 18 February 2020

‘Jetman’ stuns with Iron Man-style flight over Dubai

  • The Frenchman hovered above Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline
  • Daredevil Vince Reffet’s carbon fiber wings are powered by four mini jet engines

DUBAI: Daredevil Vince Reffet has soared into the skies above Dubai in the latest “Jetman” stunt, taking off from the ground and climbing to 1,800 meters in a feat reminiscent of Marvel’s “Iron Man” and hailed as a world first.
Reffet and his collaborators, known as “Jetmen,” have literally scaled new heights with the help of jetpacks and carbon-fire wings, staging a series of aerial displays that send them tearing through the skies at breakneck speed.
In an awe-inspiring flight captured on viral video, the Frenchman on Friday hovered five meters above the crystal waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline.


“We accomplished another world first in 100 percent autonomous human flight with @jetmandubai, who took off from the ground before soaring to a high-altitude flight of up to 1,800m!” tweeted Expo 2020 Dubai, the mammoth trade fair that will open in October.
The Jetmen had previously launched themselves into the air by jumping down from high platforms.
“It’s the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results. Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved,” Reffet said in a statement.
“One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after a flight at altitude, without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on.”

Reffet’s carbon fiber wings are powered by four mini jet engines. The equipment, which is controlled by the pilot’s movements, is capable of reaching speeds of 400 kilometers per hour.
On Friday, Reffet hovered five meters above the crystal waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline.
The Jetmen have pulled off a series of eye-popping flights in Dubai, soaring in tandem above the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, and alongside an Emirates Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial airplane.
Last year, Reffet and fellow Frenchman Fred Fugen also flew through the famed “Heaven’s Gate” archway in the mountains of China’s Hunan province.

 


Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

Updated 23 March 2020

Flying roses: Drone fetes Lebanon mothers despite coronavirus

  • Three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions
  • Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths

JOUNIEH: In a quiet Lebanese town under lockdown over the novel coronavirus, a drone buzzed toward a balcony on Saturday to deliver a red rose to a mother grinning in surprise.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Mother’s Day in Lebanon this year, but three students have come up with a new service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions.
Down in the street in the coastal town of Jounieh, 18-year-old Christopher Ibrahim texts a teenager who has ordered a flower drop-off for his mother, asking him to bring the family onto the balcony.
He slips a single rose in a ring hanging under the aircraft and it lifts off into the air to carry the flower to its intended recipient.
“It’s Mother’s Day and everything’s closed,” said the engineering student, wearing a light blue face mask.
For almost a week, most Lebanese have been ordered to remain at home to stem the spread of COVID-19. The airport has closed and all non-essential businesses have been told to shutter.
Lebanon has recorded 206 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and counted four deaths.
“I wanted to think of something that would enable people make their mothers happy in the safest way — without there being contact with anyone,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim, who has filmed weddings using a drone and also volunteers for the Lebanese Red Cross, decided on the idea of an airborne rose.
“I thought if it was delivered by drone, there would be zero contact,” he said.
But beyond cheering up mothers in lockdown, Ibrahim says the unconventional flower delivery service also aims to support medical workers battling the pandemic.
“Everything we make from this project will go to the Red Cross,” he said. Each rose delivery costs between 10,000 and 20,000 Lebanese pounds ($6.60-$13 according to the official exchange rate) depending on the location.
Lebanese officials fear an increase in COVID-19 cases would overwhelm local hospitals, in a country already reeling from an economic crisis and mass anti-government protests.
Lebanon has been largely quiet in recent days, although food stores have remained open and there have been some vehicles in the streets.
Ministers and lawmakers have called for a full curfew, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab was expected to speak on Saturday evening.
An estimated 900 million people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — two thirds by government lockdown orders, according to an AFP tally.