Famed “Jetman” Vince Reffet’s wings have been clipped.
The Frenchman — part of the high-flying team that buzzed Dubai alongside a giant Emirates Airbus A380 in 2015 — was killed in a training accident on Tuesday, his team said.
The 36-year-old from Annecy was killed at his base in the desert outside the Arabian sheikhdom’s city, Jetman Dubai spokesman Abdulla Binhabtoor told AFP.
“Vince was a talented athlete, and a much-loved and respected member of our team,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.”
Binhabtoor added that the organization was “working closely with all relevant authorities.”
The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority, which investigates all aviation incidents in the federation of seven sheikhdoms, did not immediately return a call for comment by the Associated Press.
Reffet and Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy wowed watchers online when they soared over Dubai in November 2015, flying in tandem by the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, while strapped to jetpacks as they accompanied the world’s largest airliner.
Jetman Dubai, which Rossy founded, sees its fliers zip across the sky with carbon-Kevlar wings that can fly 30 miles, have a maximum speed of about 250 mph and can reach an altitude of 20,000 feet.
“It’s the sensation of freedom. Already, you know, when I am skydiving, I have like this feeling of freedom I can like pretty much go where I want but always going down,” Reffet said in 2015. “With this machine … I can fly like a bird.”
Reffet’s exploits also went viral earlier this year, when he took off from the ground in Dubai and climbed to almost 6,000 feet in a feat reminiscent of Marvel’s “Iron Man,” according to Agence France-Presse.
He also had BASE-jumped off the 2,716-foot-tall Burj Khalifa, setting a world record. BASE is an acronym for building, antenna, span and earth.
He earned gold medals while competing as a skydiver and also competed as an extreme athlete sponsored by Red Bull.
In October, Reffet described the exhilaration of stunts like zooming over the Swiss mountains, saying it left him feeling “sick to your stomach.”
“You’re not well, it’s a mental battle. And then you get on the plane, the project is over, and now you’re already thinking about the next project. You’re looking for that moment,” he told AFP.
“You have so many dreams and life is so short,” he added.
With Post wires