Vince Reffet, nicknamed the Bird Man for his exploits in base jumping, his mastery of jetpacks and skill with wingsuit, he has died doing what he loved best : flying. The company he worked for, Jetman Dubai, announced that on Tuesday the French pilot had died in Dubai while training for an upcoming target.
“With unimaginable sadness we announce the death of Jetman pilot, Vincent (Vince) Reffet, who passed away this morning, November 17, during training in Dubai,” said company spokesman Abdullah ben Habtour.
Reffet, 36, became popular for his aerial achievements alongside fellow Soul Flyers duo Fred Fugen on flights with airsuits and jetmans (mini- engine powered backpacks).
His ability even allowed him to get on a plane while in flight, in 2017, and a year earlier to take off from the tallest building in the world, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. He had also flown near an Airbus A380 or accompanying the Patrol de France, a military aerobatic squad, in 2016.
The deceased athlete was a member of the French skydiving team and had been associated with Fugen, 41, for more than 20 years. This year a video went viral, which Reffet had released for the first time, in which it was appreciated how it took off from the ground with the jetman and reached 1,800 meters in height
With his Daredevil (“daredevil”) device, a carbon fiber wing powered by four mini-jet engines that Reffet controlled, he controlled the direction of flight. It could also stop, float, turn and turn on itself.
With the backpack on, the French acrobat reached speeds of about 400 kilometers per hour. According to the company, the jetman can reach altitudes of 6,000 meters, although the maximum duration of the flight did not exceed 13 minutes.
“Vince was a talented athlete, a much loved and respected member of our team,” the company announced. “Our memories and our prayers go out to his family and to all those who knew and collaborated with him.”
His death comes when he had shown, for the first time, according to CNN, that he was capable of going from the ground to reach an enormous altitude. In the past, jetpack pilots had used them when they were already in aerial vehicles, such as helicopters. Reffet proved that dry land was enough for him.
Pilots can float, stop, turn, and maneuver, even performing twists and turns. Daredevil jetmen reaches new heights alongside A380 passenger jet in Dubai Daredevil jetmen reaches new heights alongside A380 passenger jet in Dubai The suit has a maximum altitude of 6,100 meters (20,000 feet), according to the Jetman Dubai website, a duration Maximum flight of 13 minutes and a maximum speed of 220 knots (253 miles per hour).
The company, which has described the announcement of the death of its star as “unimaginable sadness”, assures that it is collaborating with the Emirati authorities who are investigating the events.