‘Jetman’ who as soon as flew beside a aircraft dies whereas coaching in Dubai

By: New York Times |

Up to date: November 19, 2020 1:30:41 pm

On this Sept. 27, 2013 photograph, base jumper Vince Reffet, of France, leaps from the 300-meter Open Deck of the Malaysia’s landmark, Kuala Lumpur Tower through the Worldwide Tower Soar in Kuala Lumpur. (AP Picture/Vincent Thian, File)

Vincent Reffet, a French stuntman identified for limit-defying jumps from the world’s tallest towers and highest mountains, and aerial feats alongside planes utilizing a jet pack, died in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, throughout a coaching session Tuesday, his firm mentioned. He was 36.

A free-flying world champion and avid BASE jumper (involving leaps from towering static objects moderately than from a aircraft), Reffet had undertaken breathtaking feats together with a record-breaking leap of over 2,700 ft from a platform above the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest constructing, and a midair dive right into a aircraft from a 13,000-foot mountain in Switzerland.

Jetman Dubai, of which he was a member, confirmed his loss of life however supplied no additional particulars. Police in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates’ Common Civil Aviation Authority didn’t reply to requests for remark.

“Vince was a gifted athlete and a much-loved and revered member of our group,” Jetman Dubai mentioned in an announcement, including that the group was working with authorities.

Reffet’s stature soared in 2015 after he caught the eye of Yves Rossy, a Swiss aviation fanatic who grew to become the primary man to fly with a jet-propelled wing and later invited Reffet to turn into a second “Jetman” for his group.

In Dubai, the group labored with XDubai, an extreme-sports model that has been endorsed by the crown prince. In a single stunt that went viral, the pair flew with jet packs above Dubai beside an Emirates Airbus 380, the world’s largest passenger plane.

The son of two sky divers, Reffet grew up in Annecy, in japanese France. He was launched to the world of aerial stunts at an early age, making his first solo leap in 2000, based on a biography on the location of Redbull, the vitality drink that sponsored him. A lot of his feats have been made along with his buddy and shut collaborator Frederic Fugen, with whom he additionally began Soul Flyers, a group of parachutists and jumpers.

In interviews, Reffet had spoken of the liberation that flying with a jet pack gave him and the enjoyment he felt pushing boundaries.

“It’s the feeling of freedom,” he advised The Related Press in 2015. “When I’m sky diving, I’ve like this sense of freedom — I can like just about go the place I need — however all the time taking place.” But with the jet pack, he mentioned, “I can fly like a chicken.”

BASE (constructing, antenna, span and earth) leaping is likely one of the world’s most harmful leisure sports activities, and even with a jet pack, Reffet was conscious of the risks concerned in his stunts.

“To be fully autonomous, there’s a danger, you recognize, to lose your life. One thing goes fallacious; you need to act quick,” he mentioned in “Loft: The Jetman Story,” a documentary. And the exhilaration of feats like zooming right into a aircraft over Swiss mountains was a “psychological” battle that would depart an individual “sick to your abdomen,” he advised the Agence-France Presse information company final month.

His feats over landscapes like Dubai’s skyline; Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc; and Tianmen Collapse China, shot in excessive definition and posted on YouTube, introduced audiences world wide into the expertise.

In February, he achieved what Jetman Dubai known as a primary: taking off with a jet pack from the bottom earlier than making a high-altitude flight, a transfer harking back to Marvel hero Iron Man.

He additionally just lately mentioned on social media that there was “rather more to come back.”

Followers paid tribute to Reffet on his Instagram web page Wednesday, with some saying that he had impressed them to enter the game. “You and Fred are each the rationale I began leaping 7 years in the past,” one wrote, referring to Fugen, his collaborator. “Eternally fly free.”

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