DOVER, England He had nothing above him but four tanks of kerosene and nothing below him but the cold waters of the English Channel. But Yves Rossy leapt from a plane and into the record books Friday, crossing the channel on a homemade jet-propelled wing.
Rossy jumped from the plane about 8,200 feet over Calais, France, blasting across the narrow body of water and deploying his parachute over the South Foreland lighthouse, delighting onlookers on Dover's famous white cliffs.
Backed by a gentle breeze, Rossy crossed the Channel in 13 minutes, averaging 125 miles per hour. In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England, although the wind blew him away from his planned landing spot next to the lighthouse.
The Swiss pilot said, after touching down in an adjacent field, that he wanted to show, "it is possible to fly, a little bit, like a bird."
The-49 year-old said the Channel crossing was the realization of a dream. "That's the most gratifying thing you can do," he said.