Skyray Human Glider Flight
Tired of dawdling along at one hundred and twenty miles an hour, a typical terminal velocity for human-shaped skydivers? Can you go faster? and farther?
Terminal velocity is the point where the force of air resistance pushing up on the skydiver is equal to gravity pulling down; the skydiver no longer accelerates, but falls at a nice constant speed no matter what you try. And of course, there's that whole "going straight down" problem.
For those who would like to go a little faster (not to mention farther) there's the Skyray, an attachable wing system that lets humans go beyond skydiving to "skyflying." In recent test flights, Skyray-equipped skyflyers have been able to attain speeds over 200 miles per hour. This is the same speed range as the fastest bird, the peregrine falcon, which stoops for prey at 200 miles per hour (not the spine-tailed swift, a comparative slowpoke at only 100 miles per hour, as reported elsewhere). Sir Hugh Beaver of Guinness Breweries spent a fortune to determine this fact, and launched the Guiness Book of World Records in the process.
Three long years of development in cooperation with the University of Applied Science (Munich) have created a two-piece device. The first section is a harness with rigid back section; the harness remains with the skyflyer after the second section, the wing itself, is released when the user is ready to parachute the rest of the way to the ground. The wing has its own parachute and is recovered separately. This configuration was designed for safety (by all means, safety first) and is patent-pending.
The best distance is reached with a glide ratio of two to three and a resultant velocity of about 220 kilometers per hour. Recently, a skyflyer flew across the English Channel in this manner, becoming the first non-powered flyer to do so. Carbon fiber and aramid fiber were used in construction for strength and lightness; the whole assembly weighs only nine pounds.
Science fiction fans of course remember personal powered fliers like the copter harness from Robert Heinlein's 1954 novel The Star Beast as well as the jump harness from the same author's 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land (see this link for more information about powered personal flight).
Reference articles and sources:
Airborne Humans (Skyray Airborne Humans)
Skyray at Freesky GmbH
Skyray in Flight (Skyflyer point of view) (takes a long while to load)
The physics of skydiving
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/17/2003)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.
Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...' - Theodore Sturgeon, 1941.
Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.
Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.' - Christopher Stasheff, 1969.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories