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English weather foils Fusionman

Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy on Thursday postponed plans to fly across the English Channel strapped to a jet-propelled wing after bad weather hampered visibility.

This content was published on September 25, 2008 - 16:04

The 49-year-old adventurer from Neuchâtel, known as Fusionman, said the flight, scheduled for 12.30pm local time, would have been too risky. He said he would try again on Friday.

"I took the decision not to fly, as I didn't know all the parameters. I'm not used to the region and the fast-changing weather. The bad weather came in a little bit earlier than expected," Rossy said at a media conference on Thursday afternoon.

The 35-kilometre flight from Calais, France, to Dover, Britain, meant to retrace the route of French aviator Louis Blériot, the first person to make the crossing in an airplane 99 years ago.

Using a carbon composite-wing weighing about 55 kilograms when loaded with fuel, it should have taken Rossy around 12 minutes to follow a Pilatus aircraft across the Channel at an estimated 175 kph.

"My only instrument is my eyes, and I have to follow the Pilatus plane and if I don't see them, I am all alone," Rossy said.

The feat was set to be broadcast live in 168 countries.

Rossy made his first flight with the wing in 2004. He wears a heat-resistant suit to protect him from the high temperatures produced by the wing's turbines.

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