French ‘Jetman’ Vince Reffet killed in training accident in Dubai

Frenchman Vince Reffet, part of the "Jetman" team which has performed groundbreaking stunts above Dubai using jetpacks and carbon-fibre wings, was killed in a training accident on Tuesday. (AFP)
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Updated 17 November 2020

French ‘Jetman’ Vince Reffet killed in training accident in Dubai

  • Reffet pioneered groundbreaking stunts above Dubai using jetpacks and carbon-fiber wings
  • Authorities investigating accident, which happened at the Jetman base in the desert outside the city

DUBAI: Frenchman Vince Reffet, part of the “Jetman” team which has performed groundbreaking stunts above Dubai using jetpacks and carbon-fiber wings, was killed in a training accident Tuesday, a spokesman said.
The Jetmen have pulled off a series of dramatic flights over the Gulf city, soaring in tandem above the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa and alongside an Emirates Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial airliner.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jetman Dubai (@jetman)


Stunts elsewhere in the world, including swooping into an aeroplane through a small door in mid-flight, and flying through China’s famed “Heaven’s Gate” archway in the mountains of Hunan province, drew huge audiences on social media.
“It is with unimaginable sadness that we announce the passing of Jetman Pilot, Vincent (Vince) Reffet, who died this morning, 17 November, during training in Dubai,” Jetman Dubai spokesman Abdulla Binhabtoor told AFP.
“Vince was a talented athlete, and a much-loved and respected member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.”

 




Vince Reffet, known as Jetman, taking part in a flight near the Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye) Ferris Wheel. Reffet was killed in a training accident on Tuesday. (AFP)


The accident, which happened at 36-year-old Reffet’s Jetman base in the desert outside the city, is now under investigation.
“We are working closely with all relevant authorities,” Binhabtoor said.
Reffet’s exploits went viral earlier this year, with video of him taking off from the ground and climbing to 1,800 meters over Dubai’s waterfront, in a feat reminiscent of Marvel’s “Iron Man.”

 



The Frenchman hovered five meters above the waters of Dubai’s coast before shooting off into the air and skimming the city’s skyline in the stunt that was hailed as a world first.
The Jetmen had previously launched themselves into the air by jumping down from high platforms.
In an interview with AFP in October, Reffet described the exhilaration of stunts like zooming into the plane flying over the Swiss mountains, which he said left him feeling “sick to your stomach.”
“You’re not well, it’s a mental battle. And then you get on the plane, the project is over, and now you’re already thinking about the next project. You’re looking for that moment,” he said.
“You have so many dreams and life is so short.”
Reffet’s carbon fiber wings were 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.
The Jetman team also includes fellow Frenchman Fred Fugen and Emirati pilot Ahmed Alshehhi.

 


Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

Updated 25 November 2020

Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

  • The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz

CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.

Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.

The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.

The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.

The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.

The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.

On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”

On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.

The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.

The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.

Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.

On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.

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