Jetman and mission “Human Flight” at the Tianmen Mountain – Zhangjiajie / China
The Human Flight mission with the Jetman team continues. For them it’s an aerial adventure, and for me a photography journey. The 17 days we spent in China are just as difficult to describe with words as is the case with most of these kind of history-writing projects. The unique beauty and topography of Tianmen Mountain provides a stunning backdrop for the Jetmen to test and showcase their aerial capabilities to the world. Of course there were all the challenges that the mountains and the changing weather bring, but none of that stopped us from getting Fred Fugen and Vincent Reffet through the Tianmen Cave known as Heaven's door!
Existing in the middle of the mountain, Tianmen Cave is one of the biggest attractions of this mountain, and next to the Chinese wall is one of the most famous places in China. The Tianmen Cave is a natural karst mountain cave that is 131.5 meters high, 57 meters wide and 60 meters deep.
Heaven's Door is the world's highest cave of its kind! Aside from the dozens of various flights around the mountain itself, as well as several above the most dangerous car route, Tianmen Mountain is only proof that the playground was the right choice for Jetman test flights. Also the highlight of our project in China was flying through Heaven's door and a hole in the mountain itself.
Jetman pilots Vincent Philippe Reffet and Frederic Yves Fugen were raised by a helicopter to a dizzying height from which they are soared across the sky at 385 kilometers per hour. These great athletes, side by side, finally flew through the door of the Tianmen Cave after continually adjusting their speed and direction.
From photography side
The biggest challenge on the photographic side was the size of the Tianmen Cave because the most important thing was to find the perfect angle to make Jetman pilots visible at such a large surface. Then after that, their speed was even more challenging, so good planning was absolutely necessary.
Fortunately before that we had a lot of test flights with the help of which I had a much better opportunity to get to know the mountain on each side.
It was very difficult to predict from which side and at what height they would appear, so any previous experience in capturing such projects was of great importance.
But in addition to all the things we had to count on, the most significant part was that we didn't have much opportunity for repetition, so we still did images and video at the same time, which made our work and planning in the air even more difficult!
In any case, team work and a good strategy before each shot produced great results in the end! I will write about life and food in China in the 17 days and thousands of stairs that I had to traverse some other time, to give myself an opportunity to get over it all! ????
What is Mission Human Flight?
Mission: Human Flight is a program launched by Expo 2020 with the high-octane organization XDubai to achieve 100 per cent autonomous human flight. In a series of milestone stunts, Jetman will amaze and entertain the planet while also embarking on a journey of discovery. During this mission pilots from the Jetman team will perform four stunts - flying faster, higher and lower than ever before!