Fusionman flies across channel

Is it a plane? Well, yes, he is

In a follow up to our story about Fusionman earlier in the week – Yves Rossy, the part Swiss, part eccentric ex airforce pilot – crossed the channel with nothing but the wing on his back. And those four jet engines placed a few scary centimetres from his soft, easy to burn flesh.

The flight, which was postphoned twice this week due to bad weather, was broadcast live on the National Geographic channel. Earlier in the week, Rossy was quoted as saying "If I calculate everything right, I will land in Dover. But if I get it wrong, I take a bath."

The four engines powered him across the 22-mile stretch between Calais and Dover earlier this afternoon at speeds up to 125mph after being dropped out of a aeroplane 2,500m up over France. The eccentric, but fortunately, brilliant 49-year-old followed in the flying footsteps of Frenchman Louis Bleriot. Ninety-nine years ago, Bleriot was the first to make the trip in the relative luxury of an aeroplane, basic variety or not.

Eat his shorts, David Blane

It took Rossy just over 10 minutes, much as he had predicted, which was handy, as that's how long his fuel was due to last.

Rossy told the BBC that his flight felt "Great, really great. I only have one word, 'thank you', to all the people who did it with me." We like him so much we are going to count that as one word. And let's face it, I think even the backroom boys and girls would have let him take the credit for this one.

Before landing by parachute, Rossy looped his rapt audience, always an impressive feat for a flying man with no way of steering beyond twisting his head and back a bit.

Fusionman, we salute you.