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.

skyray human powered glider skyflyer

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...' - James Blish, 1957.

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.