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Swiss Man Flies With Jet Powered Wing

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-passenger-airbags-no-hybrid-engine dept.

Transportation 247

NotBornYesterday writes "After spending $190,000 and 'countless hours' building a set of jet-powered wings, a Swiss man has successfully demoed this ultimate mother-of-all-toys. After jumping from a plane like a skydiver, he then lit the four jet engines and proceeded to fly around a valley in the Alps at up to 186 miles per hour. His site is here, if you want to see shots of him in action. 'I still haven't used the full potential,' he said."

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247 comments

OFN? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411024)

This news is AT LEAST several months old!

Here are some youtube clips of him:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-66AcTo9TU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEXxkWXncuo

Re:OFN? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411090)

I was going to put up a list of the 3 other times this story has been on Slashdot's front page, the 8 times it's been on digg, and the 14 times it's been on reddit. But, eh, what's the point?

Re:OFN? (4, Informative)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411156)

To be fair, the yahoo article is dated today. I'm guessing that this is "new news" because it was the first public demonstration:

A Swiss pilot strapped on a jet-powered wing and leaped from a plane Wednesday for the first public demonstration of the homemade device, turning figure eights and soaring high above the Alps.
Those videos likely came from private practice runs. Now it seems they're confident enough with the device that they'll do live public demos.

Re:OFN? (1, Flamebait)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411524)

Who the fuck keeps modding up these moronic "This is old news!!!" posts from AC's. As was proven by an actual member, the news is relatively new, and was in timing with the public demonstration. So please, STFU and quit modding this crap up.

Re:OFN? (4, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411590)

This guy's been jumping out of planes with jet-powered wings for *years*.. to the point that the big story over a year ago was that the army was considering developing one to give air-dropped troops more flexibility. Supposedly the wings can hold like 200 lbs worth of gear in addition to the "pilot."

It'll be news again when he finally achieves his goal of taking off with just the wing. Not jumping out of a plane.

Re:OFN? (4, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411728)

This guy's been jumping out of planes with jet-powered wings for *years*.. to the point that the big story over a year ago was that the army was considering developing one to give air-dropped troops more flexibility. Supposedly the wings can hold like 200 lbs worth of gear in addition to the "pilot."

It'll be news again when he finally achieves his goal of taking off with just the wing. Not jumping out of a plane.
I'm thinking "SEAL-dropping UAVs", dropped from a bigger plane, flies a ways into enemy territory, drops the daring soldier, and flies back undetected (ideally).

Re:OFN? (4, Insightful)

nbert (785663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412206)

Who the fuck keeps modding up these moronic "This is old news!!!" posts from AC's.
Yes, they are boring, but someone has to state the obvious and there's nothing wrong about imforming everyone about prior coverage in the media.

It might have been the first official flight, but I can recall at least 3 TV "infotainment" shows (non-US) covering this in recent years. Afterall it's just the economy of the mass media industry: Some major media agency publishes this and every news source copies it ad nauseam, because the journalists in charge haven't heard of it before or they simply are in need of content. Or they feel that not covering it will make their clientele think that they are not aware of an issue important to their particular target group*.

Two anecdotes: I know someone in the healthcare industry who hired a pr agency to promote his product. They scheduled a press conference in spring. Maybe 5 journalists of unimportant newspapers showed up. However, the press-kit they send to every major news source really paid off: In the silly season (over here that's around July) many newspapers wrote a feature about said product. Some even copied the euphemistic phrases of the press kit: "Breakthrough in hip surgery", "Uncle John can finally walk again" and so on.
On another occasion I wrote to a major energy supplier requesting material about their view on nuclear power. They send me many articles and 2 months later I read one of them again in my favorite newspaper word-by-word (it was about a new generation of nuclear plants somewhere in scandinavia). Both examples show that we have to pay attention to how we read news and who has interest in making it public. It also shows that journalists do not only cover interesting stories, but also copy material because of laziness or cost pressure.

For those reasons I like it when someone shouts "old news" in such discussions. It's a kind reminder that the news isn't newsworthy. And if I haven't heard about it before I can still read on, but I'll take it with a grain of salt.


*Not a problem as long as they mention that it has been covered before.

Well... (3, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411034)

I for one welcome our new jet-winged Swiss overlord.

Cheers!

Strat

FP?

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

phyruxus (72649) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411130)

I hear the Brits developed this technology in the mid-80's, but abandoned it when they could not find a way to make it leak oil.

With apologies to britons and MG lovers everywhere.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411812)

Actually, it was because they feared the company wouldn't go bankrupt and put thousands of people out of work.

Re:Well... And, for the camera: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411596)

"CHEESE!"

And, one burning questions:

1. Was it difficult to yodel up there?

2. If he intersected with a mountain, would he be Swiss Cheese, or some kind of tofu?

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412350)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but c'mon mods! a "-1 Troll" mod?? It wasn't even anti-Swiss fer cryin' out loud!

It was funny *precisely* because everyone knows hows little the Swiss want to be "Overlords" of anything, except maybe neutrality! Oops, there I did it again!

*Sigh*

Oh well..I've got the karma...burn, baby, burn!

Cheers!

Strat

That's all very interesting (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411038)

but can he get a first post?

Re:That's all very interesting (3, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411302)

but can he get a first post?

Well he would be getting frosty piss at that height.

But I want to know if he can run.. err.. fly.. Linux!

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

Will the Chill (78436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411046)

I, for one, welcome our new flying humanoid overlords!

-WtC

'sig': command not found

Re:Obligatory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411128)

But where's my flying car?

Re:Obligatory (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411482)

The guy was dropped from a plane. The car equivalent to that would be to be dropped from a plane to land on a runway as the Bell X-1 [wikipedia.org] did.

Just don't get too close to the sun (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411086)

This ought to be fun. Might even turn into a sport or extreme recreational activity. But just remember what happened to the last person who got too close the sun ...

Re:Just don't get too close to the sun (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411592)

If I remember correctly, he got a satalite named after him in some James Bond movie. I don't see how that is a problem? :P

It is pretty old (1, Interesting)

ady1 (873490) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411126)

Regardless, I've seen and read about it a number of times and while it is entertaining, the guy almost died doing it.

Also it serves little in terms of providing a method for transportation.

Re:It is pretty old (2, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411368)

Parachutes and paragliders tend to be unpredictable and are not particularly safe, doubly so at speeds exceeding sound or at very low altitudes. It's unclear the designs can be improved much beyond current levels. A more rigid wing might be a viable option under circumstances where parachutes either shouldn't be used or can't be used. As such, they may well be a viable option for emergency transport.

Yes, it's an old story, but it has been a very slow news day. Actually, it's been a very slow news month!

Re:It is pretty old (-1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411418)

Parachutes and paragliders tend to be unpredictable and are not particularly safe, doubly so at speeds exceeding sound or at very low altitudes.

[answers phone]

You don't say.

You don't say.

You don't say.

[hangs up phone]

[roommate]Who was it?

He didn't say.

Re:It is pretty old (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412204)

Why did the surrealist cross the road?

Orange paper plates.

Re:It is pretty old (0, Flamebait)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411574)


Wow, talk out of your arse much? Parachutes and paragliders are exceptionally safe, exceptionally predictable and operate expectedly at all altitudes.

I can tell you've never had to land either, but I would imagine trying to land a fixed or rigid wing to be much more difficult, and as I doubt you can even comprehend, difficult = injuries.

You'd better stick to digg or wikipedia before tossing your uneducated opinions around /.

Re:It is pretty old (1, Redundant)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412182)

Ah! This must be why very low-level drops, as used by special forces, are considered bloody dangerous (the chute needs a non-zero time to open), why the rectilinear parachutes are considered more steerable but more prone to entanglement than classical parachutes (which, ergo, means that you can EITHER have predictable steering OR predictable opening, but not both), why the rate of parachute failures on the Thrust-SSC car was unexpectedly high, or why a device invented in 1595 and is intrinsically very simple has a vastly greater mechanical failure rate than far more complex machines that are far newer (and therefore have had far less development time).

In other words, you speak as someone who skydives rather than as someone who is emotionally detached, impartial and observant. Nobody, no matter what the subject, can be impartial when it comes to their own passionate interests. This is not a failing of a person, or a community. It is simply a product of being up close to that degree. If you like, the consequence of being able to see a tree is that you CANNOT see the woods for the trees. The converse is also true. Those distant enough to see the woods CANNOT see the trees. It's an "uncertainty principle" of the way observation works, if you like.

Is landing difficult? Probably, but obviously not impossible - hang-glider enthusiasts land fixed-wing vehicles all the time. Is it more difficult than landing a parachute? Not the problem I'm concerned with, I'm concerned with the mechanical operation of the device, not the mechanical operation of the human, so frankly m'dear, I don't give a damn. Are hang-gliders dangerous? Well, yes, I probably wouldn't want to take off at an altitude so low or where conditions were otherwise so unfavourable that sufficient airspeed to achieve the required level of lift was simply not possible. Now, strap on an engine, so it becomes a microlight, then circumstances change. Microlights are still very dangerous, but not at low altitude. In fact, they'd be quite useless if they couldn't operate from the ground.

Re:It is pretty old (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412510)

This must be why very low-level drops, as used by special forces, are considered bloody dangerous (the chute needs a non-zero time to open), why the rectilinear parachutes are considered more steerable but more prone to entanglement than classical parachutes (which, ergo, means that you can EITHER have predictable steering OR predictable opening, but not both),


I agree with the parent, you ARE talking out of your arse. How do you define low-level? Base-jumpers regularly jump from office buildings, and they do it for fun. And while rectilinear chutes certainly are more prone to tangling, they are still quite safe, and come with a backup chute - just in case.

The whole thing hinges on how you define "safe". You seem to be taking the extreme case, so I assume that you spend most of your days in a padded cell, with it's own recirculated water supply and a heavy-duty air filtration system. If I'm wrong I apologize, but I see no other way to account for your paranoia. You're a dozen times more likely to die in a car accident than you are from a chute malfunction.

Re:It is pretty old (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411736)

Parachutes and paragliders tend to be unpredictable and are not particularly safe, doubly so at speeds exceeding sound
Please mod up +1 informative. I had no idea that parachutes and paragliders were unsafe when flown at 770 mph.

Re:It is pretty old (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411976)

Oh, there are parachutes that can be used at those speeds - they have some method of allowing air to travel through them, albeit impeded, which is why the Thrust-SSC car was able to use parachutes at speeds exceeding mach 1, and why there is some value in having ejector seats capable of supporting supersonic airspeeds. You will have noticed, of course, that commentators on the Challenger disaster stuck to discussing subsonic parachutes only and essentially classed all supersonic flight as beyond the limits of what you could escape from. All mention of escape methods specifically stated that the speed the shuttle was traveling at were far too fast to use any of the methods available. This is not because supersonic ejection technology did not exist at the time (they did), or that supersonic parachutes were new (they'd been around a few decades by then), but because even the most cynical of commentators accepted that that was just too damn hairy to be remotely viable.

Darwin awards (0, Troll)

mamono (706685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411150)

This guy could have been a contender for a Darwin award...

Re:Darwin awards (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411270)

Bah. These are the people who _should_ be reproducing -- the ones who have the balls to explore and take risks to further the ability of humans.

Re:Darwin awards (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411792)

The problem being that the windchill permanently damaged his balls, so that scuppers that plan!

Okay, okay, so I'm just kidding - I know not the actual condition of his balls.

Re:Darwin awards (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411272)

AFAIK he's still in the running!!1! The domain names darwinman and darwin-man both .com and .org are still available... ;)

Re:Darwin awards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411282)

Except of course that he didn't die, and I believe he's too old anyway. You can only get a darwin award if stupidity stops you from having kids (dying before typical parenting age, or losing "abilities" before then).

Already slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411172)

Sadface

Wait... what? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411192)

"The German-built model aircraft engines he currently uses already provide 200 pounds of thrust, enough to allow Rossy and his 120-pound flying suit to climb through the air."

So... he weighs less than 80 pounds?

Re:Wait... what? (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411222)

Well, that depends on the exchange rate at the time.

Re:Wait... what? (3, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411312)

It says he's using four engines there in the summary. That's 8,000,000,000lbs of thrust by my calculations! ;)

Re:Wait... what? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411328)

It's essentially an airplane, not a rocket. It can climb with less thrust than weight. That's what the wings are for.

Re:Wait... what? (4, Informative)

jshackney (99735) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411358)

The ability of an aerospace vehicle to climb is not purely a thrust-to-weight problem. An 18,300 pound Learjet climbs just dandy with a maximum combined thrust of 7,000 pounds.

This is the guy with the wing device and turbines, right? The site is fully slash'd.

Re:Wait... what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411978)

Doesn't matter, it's NOT a website.

It's a fucking lame full-page Flash crapshoot.

Re:Wait... what? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411466)

You only need more thrust than weight to climb vertically. After all, a 747 has four engines totaling around 200K pounds of thrust, and a max takeoff weight of around 800K pounds.

On the other hand, if you were attempting some kind of esoteric lame joke, I guess it went whoosh right over me head.

Re:Wait... what? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412224)

Let me introduce you to the concepts of aerodynamics, lift, wing shape, etc...
WHOA! What was that? I think that guy just flew right over my head... something did.

Re:Wait... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412258)

"The German-built model aircraft engines he currently uses already provide 200 pounds of thrust, enough to allow Rossy and his 120-pound flying suit to climb through the air."

So... he weighs less than 80 pounds?
200 pounds of thrust per engine?

I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but... (4, Interesting)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411218)

I wonder if these things show up on radar. And how easy they'd be to shoot down. Because they'd make dandy kamikaze weapons.

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411326)

Doubtful they'd show up.

Check out HALO jumps for the use of this thing. Basically, normal plane files up to restricted air space and does a hard turn. Crazy military types bail out and using the momentum from the turn are flung into restricted air space. They then free fall below terrain level before opening chute e.g. into a valley. This means they could probably get further from the departure point. Also they can avoid the sides of the valley which seems to be a problem currently.

What I'm wondering if these things have a throttle? If so is a landing possible without chute?

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411732)

What I'm wondering if these things have a throttle? If so is a landing possible without chute?
I would imagine that without a landing gear of some sort (i don't there there are TOO many people that can run as fast as that thing needs to go to generate enough lift to stay airborne) it would be only slightly more difficult than landing an F-16 with its nose pointed to the sky and its thrust nozzles laying on the tarmac.

nozzle (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412798)

F16's are single-engined, thus only have one "nozzle".

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (2, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411380)

Not really enough mass to do good damage. Bug splat kamikaze pilots don't really make the same statement as fighter jets, and even 747's plowing through the target.

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411404)

I wonder if these things show up on radar. And how easy they'd be to shoot down. Because they'd make dandy kamikaze weapons.
"He's fast, I'll give him that, but one heat seeking missile and he's history. [dvpalumbo.com]"

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (1)

DJNephilim (832695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412252)

Ha! Always nice to come across another Buckaroo fan unexpectedly.

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411892)

Depends what he made the wing out of. If it was fiberglass and/or composites, then probably not very well. If it was metal construction (I don't think it is), then it'll show up fine. It flies at like 200mph max I guess, so it reenters the realm of human aimed guns.

Re:I hate to give the wrong people any ideas, but. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412604)

But why? That's what cruise missiles are for.

Famous last words... (5, Funny)

HydraSwitch (184123) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411320)

'I still haven't used the full potential,' he said.

Feh.

Definitely famous last words.

they cut off some of the article (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412660)

The ending in the slashdot summary should read: 'I still haven't used the full potential,' he said, before crashing head first into a mountain."

misread it (4, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411480)

I initially misread it as "Jet Powered Wang".

Re:misread it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412334)

I like how the penis joke gets score 5 funny imediately

Landing? (1)

gsfprez (27403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411548)

how exactly does this guy land?

Re:Landing? (2, Informative)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411722)

how exactly does this guy land?

He cuts the engines and opens a parachute. The more concerning issue is the major bane of jet powered flight - bird hits. At the speed they are talking about, a bird hitting this guy in the head, even with a helmet, stands a good chance of knocking him out. Then you're going to have a dead bird as well as a dead wing-rider.

Re:Landing? (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412318)

The more concerning issue is the major bane of jet powered flight - bird hits. At the speed they are talking about, a bird hitting this guy in the head, even with a helmet, stands a good chance of knocking him out. Then you're going to have a dead bird as well as a dead wing-rider.
Meh... hook up some monitoring systems and have the parachute autodeploy. So he has to get some reconcstructive surgery... big whoop.

The bigger concern, I would think, would be avoiding the amorous attentions of Rodan [wikia.com]. No amount of plastic surgery is going to help you cope with THAT.

Re:Landing? (5, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412628)

At the speed they are talking about, a bird hitting this guy in the head, even with a helmet, stands a good chance of knocking him out. Then you're going to have a dead bird as well as a dead wing-rider.


Naw. You've got the same problem with motorcycles - a buddy of mine had TWO birds hit him almost simultaneously, while he was doing 200+ mph. One nailed him in the head, cracking the face-shield, while the other one turned itself into jello inside the bike's headlight. Not only did it not knock him out, but he even managed to retain control of the bike.

Most birds don't have much weight, and modern helmets are built with some heavy-impact in mind (no pun intended). You'd have to hit a friggin condor to get knocked out.

Re:Landing? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412006)

I don't know how, but he only does it once.

Re:Landing? (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412372)

Well, they say that any landing you can walk away from is a good one. If you can re-use the aircraft, it's a great one.

Re:Landing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412402)

One is all you need.

Re:Landing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412894)

yeah, i can't imagine seeing a prototype and a lot of ground tests and bein like sure i'll jump out of a plane with it on my back and try to fly it around.

Making Sense (5, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411624)

at up to 186 miles per hour.

I gather that this number makes some sense in metric.

Re:Making Sense (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411740)

X mph is approximately X/2 m/s, so 186mph is approx 93m/s, which is pretty quick.

remember, it's not altitude and speed which kill, is the descending rapidly gaining speed and the sudden stop at the end which does!

Re:Making Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411888)

1 mph = 0.447 m/s, roughly 0.45 which is 1/2 - 1/20.
A quick approximation is x mph = (x/2 - x/20) m/s which means you are off by about 11%.

186 mph is about 93-9.3 = 83.7 m/s (actual conversion yields 83.142 m/s)

Re:Making Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411766)

300 km/h = 186.4 m/h That help?

That would be 300km/hr in real units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411698)

Especially relevant since the dude would use km/hr himself!

a nice start (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23411902)

I will not be fully impressed until he can land on his own two feet and take off with little more than a running jump.

Re:a nice start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412740)

I saw a video where he successfully landed on his feet via a severe stall at very low altitude and speed.

He could also take off from a running jump, if it were off a cliff.

You need to be more specific.

Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23411942)

I can't view youtube at work, so someone tell me, does the video begin with this Swiss man shouting...

"And remember, I can only do this once!"

Acme Jet Powered Wings (2, Funny)

schmoe.joey (978780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412134)

I think this concept was proven fatally wrong by Mr. Wiley Coyote while hunting RoadRunners...

Can the editors do math? $190,000 != $285,000 (1)

phreakhead (881388) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412262)

The summary is wrong. From TFA: "So far Rossy and his sponsors, including the Swiss watch company Hublot, have poured more than $285,000 and countless hours of labor into building the device."

Re:Can the editors do math? $190,000 != $285,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412710)

Can you read the entire effing article? A note at the bottom says the article originally said $190K but was later corrected to $285K.

Re:Can the editors do math? $190,000 != $285,000 (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23412860)

It was $190,000 CDN. Slashdot is trying to become more cosmopolitan. Please keep up :-p

Just like the flames shooting from his /.ed server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23412282)

</obligatory>
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