Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy successfully crossed the English Channel using his homemade jet-propelled wing Friday, the first man to perform the feat. Rossy leapt from a plane more than 8,800 feet or a mile and a half from the ground, before firing up his jets.
He made the 22-mile trip from Calais in France to Dover in England in a little under 15 minutes.
He began the Friday flight just before 1207 GMT; by 12:15 GMT, Rossy was above British soil and looped over onlookers before opening his parachute, with his wings still strapped to his back. He touched down in a field near the famous white cliffs of Dover.
"It was perfect. Blue sky, sunny, no clouds, perfect conditions," Rossy said. "We prepared everything and it was great."
The trip across the Channel was meant to trace the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot, the first person to cross in an airplane 99 years ago.
The lighthouse was the site of Guglielmo Marconi's experiments with radio telegraphy in 1898. Bleriot used the white building as a target during his pioneering flight, the building's manager, Simon Ovenden, said.
Several hundred spectators rushed to greet the pilot, trying to take photographs with cameras and cell phones.
"It's a remarkable achievement, we saw the climax of his attempt as he came down to earth with his parachute. It's been an exciting afternoon," said Geoff Clark, a 54-year-old onlooker from Chatham, in Kent.
The carbon composite-wing weighs about 121 pounds (55 kilograms) when loaded with fuel, and carried four kerosene-burning jet turbines that kept him aloft. The wing had no steering devices -- Rossy moved his body to control its movements.