By now you’ve probably seen the Emirates video. In it Jetman Dubai pilots Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet fly alongside an Emirates A380 airliner. If you haven’t watched the Emirates video yet, click HERE. It’s exciting and dramatic. In fact, it’s so good it looks fake.
But according to the myth-busting website Snopes.com, it’s not. “…The stunt was met with skepticism online, with some viewers claiming that the video employed CGI effects and not real jet pack stuntmen. However, XDubai, the YouTube account that uploaded the video, directed skeptics to a second video that explained more about how the stunt was accomplished and detailed the meticulous and careful planning that went into it.”
Pilots Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet also took to the web to write about their exploits. Here’s an excerpt:
“The Emirates A380 and Jetman Dubai team recently took to the skies of Dubai for an extraordinary formation flight which showcases just how far aviation has come…
While the formation flight looked effortless on film, painstaking planning and meticulous collaboration with an intense focus on safety drove all efforts.
The carefully choreographed aerial showcase involved the world’s largest passenger aircraft flying at 4,000 feet in two holding patterns. The A380 aircraft was then joined by the Jetman Dubai duo, experienced pilots and operators of the smallest jet propelled wing, who were deployed from a helicopter that hovered above the aircraft at 5,500 feet. The duo conducted formations on both sides of the aircraft and joined to one side thereafter before breaking away.”
All well and good. Emirates scored an incredible accomplishment with a powerful example of both bravery and technology. It’s a great use of state-of-the art aviation and video technology. And with more than one half million views after only two days on YouTube and over 13 million views now, Emirates certainly got their viral money’s worth.
But here’s what I want to know:
Has Emirates lost its mind?
Remember that the Russian Metrojet Airbus A231 flying from Sharm el-Sheikh just crashed on Saturday, October 31, killing all 224 people on board. This was only four days before Emirates released the Jetman video. And even though we don’t yet know what brought the St. Petersburg-bound plane down, the UK cancelled all flights to the region amid fears that the crash was caused by a terrorist attack.
And now Emirates is going to show the world just how vulnerable their jetliners are to external tampering? Who cares how well an airport monitors luggage if two yahoos in skintight Slankets can pilot their jet-propelled wings within spitting distance of a jumbo jet? Imagine sitting in a window seat and looking up from your complimentary dish of cashews to see two guys in jet suits rocketing past your porthole.
Granted what the video shows us is not only how vulnerable Emirates’ jets are but how vulnerable all jets are. But it’s the Emirates’ logo, along with beauty shots of the unmistakable Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai skyline, that dominates the video — and our collective consciousness.
Although I can’t understand why Emirates would commission this video in the first place, what really makes me scratch my head is why Emirates released it now. Especially when all eyes are focused on the vulnerability of air travel and the Middle East’s worsening volatility. Apparently Emirates’ marketing people are even crazier than their stunt pilots.