FAA Rules Might Ground Rocketman's Bid To Fly Over Grand Canyon On A 'Wingsuit'
A Swiss "rocketman" wants to soar over the Grand Canyon affixed to his "wingsuit," but his plans might not be OKed from the Federal Aviation Administration. Regardless, Grand Canyon National Park officials have told him to stay away from the park if he does take to the air.
The obstacles standing in the way of Yves Rossy, a former fighter pilot, range from him obtaining an "airworthiness certificate" from the FAA for his jet-propelled wing as well as having it certified as "experimental, exhibition" under federal regulations.
"The FAA is working with Yves Rossy, his representatives and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to obtain the necessary approvals for Mr. Rossy to safely operate his wing in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS)," FAA officials said in a prepared statement. "The FAA has not yet approved any operations of this aircraft in the NAS."
Mr. Rossy approached park officials earlier this year for permission to cruise their airspace in his "wingsuit," a device that reportedly can reach speeds over 100 mph.
"He, from what I understand, came to the park several months ago to ask for permission, and we never got anything in writing but we told him that that activity would not be allowed within Grand Canyon National Park boundaries," park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said Wednesday.
“We’ve had a marathon here before, we’ve had bicycling events, groups coming in, we’ve had activities such as that that have some type of connection with the park and are not disruptive and do not interfere with our other programs and activities,” she said.
Ms. Oltrogge said Mr. Rossy was working with the FAA and the Hualapai Tribe in a bid to fly over a section of the canyon outside the park Friday morning.
“We’re being told by the FAA that there is no intention to fly within the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules area, and this still may or may not happen," she said.
News reports indicated the Swiss daredevil planned to drop from a helicopter and cruise along the western portion of the canyon before parachuting to the ground. To get an idea of this rocketman's plans, check out the following video.