You may not know it, but we are living in a veritable renaissance of human flight. And I don't mean those modern contrivances they call airplanes. Right now there are more people flitting about the clouds—thousands of feet above the earth, engine free—than ever before. It's only been eight years since the modern ram-air wingsuit was invented and since then skyflyers have taken to the air in flocks. But it's not only the fabric-winged that have recently conquered the air: small, personal-sized rigid wings have let skydivers zip over the earth at speeds greater than what most small planes can achieve. Meanwhile Finnish wingsuiter Visa Parviainen has attached miniature jet engines to his ankles and seems to have flown horizontally, if only for a few seconds. In the photo above Yves Rossy is shown moments before unfolding his wings, turning on his own small jets, and shooting across the sky parallel to the earth.
The ever-present, never-squashed human goal to fly—not just to fly, but to fly like a bird—has never been closer.