Page last updated at 23:16 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 00:16 UK

Pilot plans Channel pedal flight

Stephane Rousson in his airship
Stephane Rousson will not carry a parachute because it is too heavy

A French amateur pilot has returned to Kent to try the first pedal-propelled flight across the English Channel.

Stephane Rousson, 39, is waiting for the perfect weather conditions to take his helium-filled aircraft from Hythe beach to the French coast.

He needs winds of less than 5mph before he can embark on the voyage safely.

Mr Rousson failed to make the 34-mile (55km) journey in airship Zeppy in June, despite waiting two weeks for the ideal weather conditions.

Inspired by film

If successful, it would be the first such crossing of the Channel.

Mr Rousson, who is keeping his aircraft at Lydd Airport in Kent, aims to travel 100ft above the water in Zeppy, which has two tilting propellers powered from a seat.

He hopes to fly to the coastal village of Wissant.

Mr Rousson said he was inspired by the Steven Spielberg film ET.

"Ever since I was a kid I have dreamed of flying," he said.

"I can't bring a parachute because of the weight of the parachute. It is too heavy."


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