HUALAPAI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. -- Swiss "JetMan" Yves Rossy canceled his first U.S. flight in a jet-propelled wing suit Friday, deciding at the last minute that he hadn't done enough training to complete the challenging stunt.
Rossy had planned to jump from a helicopter, then soar above Arizona's majestic Grand Canyon.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it learned of his plan through public reports and sent a letter to the adventurer late last week about what he needed to do to ensure safety standards were met.
The agency gave Rossy final approval for the stunt Friday morning, less than an hour before he was scheduled to take off.
But with reporters and spectators standing by, the 51-year-old daredevil called off the flight.
"If I do a mistake and half of U.S. television (is here), it's really bad for you, for me, for everybody," Rossy said from the Hualapai Reservation lookout point where onlookers planned to watch him take off. "I don't want to take the risk to present something unprofessional."
He said he would still like to do the stunt, but he has not yet rescheduled it.
Rossy, who calls himself the JetMan, has rocketed above the English Channel and the Swiss Alps in his jet-propelled wing suit. He has talked for years about using Arizona's scenic wonder as a backdrop for his first U.S. flight.
Rossy said Thursday that he started planning for the Grand Canyon stunt two years ago, through talks with the tribe and visits to the reservation, and by mapping out landing sites on Google Earth.
He got approval from the tribe three months ago, but he wasn't in contact with the FAA until a few weeks ago.
In its April 28 letter to Rossy, the FAA explained everything the adventurer needed to do to get its approval. The agency then quickly went to work on Rossy's plan, inspecting his jet suit and outlining a safe flight path.
The FAA said it never has been asked to evaluate anything similar to Rossy's jet suit, nor does the suit fit neatly into any category. The agency usually requires 25 to 40 hours of test flights but waived that rule for Rossy, saying he already had a significant amount of flight time with the suit.
It gave final approval to Rossy's plan Friday morning, shortly before he was scheduled to take off.
Rossy wouldn't comment Friday on whether his delay in seeking FAA approval contributed to the cancellation, instead referring questions to the flight's sponsor, watchmaker Breitling.
Company consultant John Parker said he didn't think it was an issue.
"I honestly think the pressure was good," Parker said. "It's nice to have a focused end and keep the motivation."
Rossy had planned to jump from a helicopter on the reservation near Eagle Point -- a rock formation that resembles the bird. He then was going to fly westward along the rim of the canyon, using only his body to steer and his eyes to navigate.
He planned to use windsocks to help him determine the direction of the wind and plan a landing at the bottom of the canyon.
The flights typically range from six to 13 minutes before he runs out of fuel and opens up a parachute.
In saying he was scrapping the flight, Rossy pointed to the canyon's rugged walls, swirling air currents and cactus-covered cliff sides.
"It's the most challenging place I could fly," he said. "I don't know any professional aviator who will give a show without training."
Emergency responders and a helicopter were on standby for the flight, and four boats were at the ready in the Colorado River below. After the cancellation, a member of the Hualapai Tribe offered a blessing to thank Mother Earth for creating the Grand Canyon.
Robert Bravo Jr., chief executive of the tribe's business arm, Grand Canyon Resort Corp., said he was disappointed about not getting to see Rossy do the flight. But he said the tribe would be happy to welcome back the JetMan anytime.
"Of course, safety is the No. 1 priority," Bravo said. "I believe that when certain things happen, they happen for a reason and we have to respect that."
Rossy, a former fighter pilot, has flown over both the Swiss Alps and the English Channel in the past few years. In 2009 he tried to cross the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain, but strong turbulence forced him to ditch in the sea.
The aviation world has kept a close watch on the extreme sports enthusiast. While jetpacks and hang gliders have taken to the skies, "this one is a bit unusual," said Dick Knapinski, spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association.
"It's such a unique design and a unique pursuit that it doesn't fall in the usual categories," he said.
The Hualapai Reservation is known for the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that extends 70 feet from the canyon's rim and gives visitors a view of the river. The reservation lies west of Grand Canyon National Park.