‘Jetman’ Who Flew Beside a Aircraft Dies Whereas Coaching in Dubai


Vincent Reffet, a French stuntman recognized for limit-defying jumps from the world’s tallest towers and highest mountains, and aerial feats alongside planes utilizing a jetpack, died in Dubai throughout a coaching session on Tuesday, his firm stated. He was 36.

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

Jetman Dubai, of which he was a member, confirmed his dying however supplied no additional particulars. The 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 staff,” Jetman Dubai stated in a press release, including that the group was working with the authorities.

Mr. 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 Mr. 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 jetpacks above Dubai beside an Emirates Airbus 380, the world’s largest passenger plane.

The son of two sky divers, Mr. 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 soar in 2000, based on a biography on the site of Redbull, the vitality drink that sponsored him. Lots of his feats have been made together with his pal and shut collaborator Frederic Fugen, with whom he additionally began Soul Flyers, a staff of parachutists and jumpers.

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

“It’s the feeling of freedom,” he informed The Related Press in 2015. “When I’m skydiving, I’ve like this sense of freedom — I can like just about go the place I would like — however at all times happening.” But with the jetpack, he stated, “I can fly like a chook.”

BASE leaping is without doubt one of the world’s most harmful leisure sports activities, and even with a jetpack, Mr. Reffet was conscious of the hazards concerned in his stunts.

“To be utterly autonomous, there’s a threat, you realize, to lose your life. One thing goes incorrect, it’s a must to act quick,” he stated 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 informed the Agence-France Presse news agency last month.

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

In February, he completed what Jetman Dubai referred to as a primary: taking off with a jetpack from the ground earlier than making a high-altitude flight, a transfer harking back to the Marvel hero Iron Man.

He additionally not too long ago stated on social media that there was “far more to come back.”

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