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 -
Tesla Autopilot's 40 Percent Crash Reduction
''I hope all those other cars are on automatic,' he said anxiously.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976
Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...' - James Blish, 1957.
Star Wars Speeder Bikes! On Water, By Jetovator
'Hey, wait!' Now, you don't need to say that.
Honda To Offer Car With Emotions
'All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition.' - Douglas Adams, 1979.
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.
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'
Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'
Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'
TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'
Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'
Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'
Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!
Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories