Like everyone at Oshkosh, I was most looking forward to Ives Rossy, aka Jetman, take to the skies with that jetpack we've all been promised since the 50's. That's the 1950's to you kids.
It was a huge crowd gathered to witness history for the festival, with dads all around me forcing their kids to sit down and watch - the same way my mom made my sister watch the moon landing. Didn't matter that she was only 5 months old - Mom just wanted to say "she saw it". Everyone KNEW they were going to see something special.
Shortly, Rossy took to the sky in his launch helicopter, climbing higher and higher. The announcers kept us entertained with the details of how Rossy arching his body changes the direction of flight, or how he normally does a 6-point landing (feet, knees, then hands), but sometimes adds a 7th point (his nose). We also learn that every jump is different, because the air is different, the wind is different, his frame of mind is different, etc. I morbidly joke that the ground is always the same - hard.
Suddenly, he was out. You only knew he was freefalling because of the big screens showing the view from Rossy's wing. So we're all scanning the sky, seeking this miracle worker. And we're looking. And we're looking. And we're...WAIT! Nope, that's a seagull. And we're lo..THERE! We see an arrow-shaped pinpoint move swiftly across the sky, darting from cloud to cloud. This is cool! This is great! This is...happening 2,500 feet up in the sky, and I barely see him.
Don't get me wrong, it was cool to be there, and everyone around me was rightly awe-inspired. However, I didn't really get that "I'm a part of this" feeling I went to receive. I blame my own build-up - kind of like going to the opening night midnight showing of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace". At least this was cooler technology than what brought Jar Jar Binks to life!
After 10 minutes of occaisionally getting a glance of the world's smallest stealth bomber playing hide-and-seek, suddenly the parachute was out, and he was on the ground three minutes later. I think I finally got him on camera at that point. My work here is done!
So what did I learn today? I learned I STILL want my jetpack I was promised in the 50's - just so I can finally get a good picture of Jetman.
Check out the attached video!
Jetman2.MTS (9.66 mb)