Update: Jetman announced via e-mail he was canceling his Grand Canyon flight today. He provided no details, but promised further updates. We'll let you know what's happening when we do.
Original report: The Swiss daredevil who calls himself Jetman (his real name is Yves Rossy) plans to fly over the Grand Canyon today in his signature jet-powered wing suit. Rossy has been trying to organize the stunt for two years, and he's finally gotten all the appropriate permits and everything in order--the FAA has given the go-ahead. His plan is to drop from a helicopter, fire up the jet engines on his wing suit, fly for about 10 to 13 minutes, then parachute to earth.
Today's flight is a triumph not only of engineering and disposable income, but of dealing with bureacracy. The FAA is a big, complicated organization that has to issue permits for people to operate aircraft in the United States, and the Grand Canyon is operated by another big, complicated organization called the National Parks Service, which issues permits for people to hike and raft in it. Some folks wait for 10 years or more for that kind of permission.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Rossy's approach to bureacracy was almost criminal in its simplicity: He didn't ask for permission to fly. The agency ended up sending him a letter last week outlining the requirements for the kind of flight he had planned, only after they heard about it in the news.
Rossy got permission to operate out of the Hualapai Indian Reservation, over whose land he'll be flying (that circumvents the Park Service), and he apparently thought that covered the airspace too, but it doesn't. He had to come up with a registration, airworthiness certificate (for an experimental aircraft, no less), pilot's license, and parachute. Inspectors were still looking over his craft last night, the Review Journal reports, and gave him the green light this morning.
Here's video of Rossy performing loops over Switzerland. Check back here for footage of today's flight.