The Gazette Today



3 min read

Vince Riffet in air.

With the efforts of EXPO 2020 Dubai and Jetman, Dubai has accomplished to secure one more first, in its history in the quest of achieving 100 percent human autonomous flight, which took off from the ground and later transited to a high altitude flight. Pilots from the Jetman team performed four stunts – flying faster, higher and lower than ever before- creating a new benchmark for the world of aviation.

Jetman isn’t new in innovation, though successfully launched on 14th February 2020. Jetman pilot Vince Reffet made it success by launching into the air from the runway of Skydive Dubai and flew up to an altitude of 1,800 metre.With this success, Jetmen can now fly directly upwards from a standing start without the need for an elevated platform.In this launch Reffet was equipped with a carbon fibre wing powered by four mini jet engines and the equipments enabled the Jetman to reach speeds of 400kmph with the hovering, changing directions and performing loops.   

Performance and the stunts can be detailed as:

  • Riffet hovered 5 metres above the waters of the Araian Gulf for 100 seconds after getting airborne at the aerial centre by Jumeriah Beach. Demonstrated his control by performing stops, turns and backward moves and finally landing smoothly from where it took off.
  • Second flight heading south toward Jumeriah Beach Residence, upbringing speed and height with an average of 240kmph,climbed 100 m in eight seconds, 200 m in 12 seconds, 500m in 19 seconds and finally 1000m in 30 seconds. 
  • At the end of 3 minutes flight, performing roll and loop at 1800 metre altitude, before opening his parachute at 1500 metre landing back to the runway.

This is the very first time that any jetman combined hovering safely at a low altitude and flying aerobatics at a high altitude in the same flight.

Who made this stunt successful?

Patting the backs of three engineers – Mohammed Rashid Chembankandy from India, Andre Bernet from Switzerland and chief Engineer Matthieu Courtois from France. Their combined efforts in making this successful has also brought in drastic risk reduction by studying speed profiles in all phases of flight without the aid of any electronic stabilisation systems.

No less than 50 preparatory flights were conducted to ensure the health and safety of the Jetman.

Overwhelmed Riffet after the successful flight said, “We are so happy we achieved this incredible flight. 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.It is another step in a long-term project. One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after the flight at altitude without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on.”

Successful Flight of Vince Riffet

Future Scope and Aim:

This is just the beginning, the further development will continue once this pandemic sheds away in the coming months with a trial to have a safer flight without the use of parachute. Human Flight has also been training Ahmed Alshehhi, the first Emirati Jetman, as the UAE prepares to welcome 192 nations and millions of global visitors for Expo 2020 Dubai, which is unexpectedly rescheduled in 2021 due to worldwise Covid’19. 

This isn’t the limit, it’s beyond the scope of imagination though at a pause in the current situation.

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