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 (Back On) ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
BMW Plans Fully Autonomous Cars By 2025
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her... '- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
EU Parliament Requires Electric Cars To Make Noise
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'- Robert Heinlein, 1985.
Pepper The Parrot's Bird Buggy
'Someone had put them on mobile platforms, the skrodes.'- Vernor Vinge, 1992.
Tesla Model S Declared Car Of The Year By Motor Trend
'They can therefore roam over the roads of the entire hemisphere [combining] the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well.'- John Jacob Astor IV, 1894.
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.
MIT Robot Cheetah Video Shows Gait Transition
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'
CARMAT Bioprosthetic Total Human Heart Replacement
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Personal Sniffer Robots
'...The ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound.'
Physical Exam? We've Got Apps
See the future of handheld, personal medical devices.
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
'... the Scarab [flying robot] buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might...'
Robo-Raven Flapping Wing Robot Bird
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Japan's Nursing Home Robot Plan
Let's make the Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed!
Samsung Smart TVs With Gesture Control
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'
Mini-Livers Made By 3D Printer
Organleggers may experience an employment downturn.
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories