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Diffusing Borders

The fourth installment of the series about Soul Flyers Fred Fugen and Vincent Reffet in the French sports paper L´ÉQUIPE has the focus on their recent exploits as ‘jet men,’ i.e. pilots of a jet-propelled carbon-fiber wing, who continue to resort to the use of their parachutes for landings.

Jet man with the Patrouille de France

The nationwide coverage that Fred and Vince received through the various L’ÉQUIPE publications (website with close to 100 million monthly visitors, daily with a circulation of 250,000, TV channel, associated social media) set new standards in terms of quantity and, much more importantly, in terms of the narrative.

Two ambitious young men rewrote the history of a competitive skydiving discipline, winning every title contested in events sanctioned by the World Air Sports Federation – FAI, before they expanded their horizons and graduated to other variations of human flight.

I can only assume that their popularity in France has increased further with the publication of the L’ÉQUIPE series. But with some of their videos accruing millions of views globally through social media and different outlets under the control of an energy drink brand, that is probably not even important.

For twenty years, Fred and Vince have redefined skydiving, BASE jumping, wingsuit and jet-propelled wing flying. Their achievements have gradually diffused the borders separating one discipline from another. Human flight and beyond – unpowered and powered!

It goes without saying that they did everything right – adhering to the spirit encapsulated in the quote, “The idea is to have fun, not to kill yourself,” attributed to the Swiss Yves Rossy, the original 'jet man.' Only one thing they could have improved on: the spelling of Yves' last name in the article. Rossy – with y.

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