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Pilot makes first Channel rocket ride

DOVER, England, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A British airline pilot with a homemade rocket backpack soared into the record books Friday as he zoomed across the English Channel.

Yves Rossy, 49, who calls himself Fusionman -- half man, half bird -- made the 21-mile, jet-powered flight from Calais, France, to Dover, England, in just less than 15 minutes while traveling at speeds of more than 125 mph, The Daily Telegraph said.

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Once he reached his destination, Rossy folded his wing and parachuted to the ground.

The wing, created from a lightweight carbon composite, weighed about 120 pounds with fuel and included four kerosene-burning jet turbines to keep him airborne. It had no steering devices.

Rossy retraced the route of French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot, who 99 years ago became the first person to fly across the English Channel in a plane.

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