French daredevil and Dubai-based “jetman” pilot Vincent Reffet has died at the age of 36, after reportedly being killed during a training exercise in the desert.
Reffet has had a long career of wowing audiences following a number of dangerous and fascinating stunts, including BASE jumping from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in 2014. This stunt won him a world record.
Throughout his career, he has achieved a number of gold medals as a free-flying skydiver, and has competed as an extreme athlete sponsored by Red Bull.
Reffett is perhaps best known for his work as a member of Jetman Dubai, founded by Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy.
Rossy’s pilots fly through the skies using the Jetwing, a four-engine, carbon-Kevlar winged jet pack.
The wings can fly 50 kilometres, have a maximum speed of over 400km/h and can reach an altitude of 20,000ft. It has a maximum flight duration of about 13 minutes.
In 2015, Reffet and Rossy and their Jetwings flew alongside an Emirates Airbus A380 double-decker jetliner over Dubai.
Reffet also made history by becoming the first jetpack pilot to achieve flight from a standing start in February at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Jetman Dubai announced the passing of Reffet with “unimaginable sadness” on Tuesday.
The organisation did not elaborate, though it said it was “working closely with all relevant authorities”.
“Vince was a talented athlete, and a much-loved and respected member of our team,” the company statement said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.”
Refett will be remembered as a talented extreme athlete and daredevil.
Reffet once said: “I believe that if you dream big and if you love what you do, everything is possible.”