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From Wheels To Wings: The Next Step In Adventure

From wheels to wings

We motorcycle riders all know, and all accept, that we are on the edge of danger. Unlike a car, there is no steel body around us, no safety restraint system to prevent us from flying over the handlebars. We accept the danger and ride anyways.

We ride because that danger gives us that feeling of freedom, that connection with the machine underneath us that people that have never ridden will never understand. As veteran TT rider Guy Martin once put it: “Those close calls, those moments when you think ‘oooh, that’s it, that’s the end’ and you make it through them… nothing else gives you that buzz.”

However, while many bikes can take us many places, there is one area that bikes can’t take us.

And that is up.

Skydiving was, for the longest time, the only way a human could feel the freedom of flight, and even then, it was a short period of freefall before opening your chute.

From wheels to wings
Jetman Vince Reffet dials up full power from his JetWing after hovering

Now, however, JetWings (the official name of the device invented by the first Jetman, Yves Rossy) are becoming more and more advanced, and are quickly gaining interest as the next level of human flight.

In February of this year, Jetman Dubai pilot Vince Reffet was the first human to combine a stable hover, transition into powered flight, reach 150 MPH at 3,280 feet from the hover in 30 seconds, perform two aerobatic maneuvers, power off his jets, pull his chute, and land safely, all in one flight.

From wheels to wings
That little spec in the top middle of the picture is Vince Reffet going vertical

As the JetWing becomes more popular, we can definitely see it becoming the next thing that combines the danger of being connected to a machine that takes you to insane speeds and gives you full freedom of being human. Right now, however, it is still a prototype in constant development, and to fly one, you need to be a veteran skydiver and be trained by an expert JetWing pilot. And both of those are not what one would consider “cheap” pursuits. Also, as of this post, there are only five fully-trained expert JetWing pilots in the world.

From wheels to wings
Vertical climb with the power of jets!

And, because we know numbers count, the JetWing can travel 31 miles, at a speed of 250 MPH, at a max ceiling of 6,100 feet.

From wheels to wings
Coming down out of a tight loop

The fuel is stored in the wing itself, and the jets sip the fuel once at cruising speed. Control, much like in skydiving, is all about slipping your hands, arms, and legs into and out of the airstream to produce drag and lift in the right ways.

From wheels to wings
Safe landing and celebration!

It was not long ago, only 2015, when formation flying in JetWings was possible. And, at the time, you had to jump from a helicopter as the hover and takeoff functionality of the JetWing had not even been invented yet…

All of these videos available on XDubai are in support of the International Exposition 2020 that, in response to the global pandemic, has been pushed back to October 2021.