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Closer to Human Flight

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the icarus-here-we-come dept.

Science 290

negativeblue writes "Dropzone.com has (had) a story about the preparation of a man (Jeb Corliss) who prepares to land a wingsuit without a parachute. If you don't know the current abilities of parachutes, now-a-day, you should do your research. Basically airfoils, they can perform close to an airplane wing (high performance turns and lift)."

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290 comments

jeb is the man (4, Informative)

joatmon (24696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190678)

if you've ever seen a base jumping video 90% chance it was jeb.

I'm sorry, you left me no choice... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190699)

All your base jump are belong to us!

Re:jeb is the man (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190771)

yes [cuntfidential.com]

Re:jeb is the man (1, Funny)

websaber (578887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190785)

I don't see what the big deal is. In the early days of flight many people flew with out wings. They just made sure to fly downward (really fast).

.45 to a Chimp? (0)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190881)

With Gorilla Gone? Will There Be Hope For Freefallers?

Closer? (3, Funny)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190683)

Damn those fictional airplanes landing all the time without a parachute!

Re:Closer? (2, Interesting)

the_mind_ (157933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190844)

No they don't! [slashdot.org]

FIRST POST! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190686)

FIRST POST!

Re:FIRST POST! (1)

beatdown (788583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190700)

I don't think "first" means what you think it means.

landing (4, Interesting)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190687)

They say they're dealing with it, but I really have to wonder how they slow to a resonable speed to land. It seems to me that the "pilot" would be moving at a good clip most of the time. Maybe they have a way to modify the aerodymanics of the wings to slow down + add lots of lift, like flaps on an airplane.
Cool stuff, though. I won't be trying it.

Jerry
http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

Speed is good (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190858)

The trick I think is to develop enough forward speed. More forward speed develops more lift. In a regular plane, you do something called a flare as you land. As you get close to the touchdown point, you steer up (technically, you change your angle of attack). This burns off forward speed and creates lift. This guy has a lot more freedom about his angle of attack. (Him landing on his feet would be the equivalent of a plane landing on its tail.) I think it could work but, of course, I'm not going to try it. My guess is that he will still have a lot of forward velocity when he has essentially no lift left.

The more I think about it, the more I think I agree with the parent.

Re:Speed is good (3, Interesting)

luguvalium2 (466022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190981)

Isn't a flare essentially a stall that is really close to the ground? If you watch birds land they flare and then pop their feet out of the tuck position so that they land on their feet. My guess is that with practice, a human can do the same. It's surviving the practice thats the tricky part.

May I be the first to say... (5, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190693)

...that this guy is more likely going to win a Darwin Award than survive his fall.

Oh well, I guess something's got to thin the herd...

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

surefooted1 (838360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190817)

...that this guy is more likely going to win a Darwin Award than survive his fall.


Yes he may very well die if his experiment fails. But if we thought about everything that way, if man didn't take some chances, we would have very little innovation.

Re:May I be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190860)

Taking risks for the sake of scientific discovery and the betterment of mankind is one thing. Taking risk for their own sake is something else.

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190903)

Haha, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Wow, it's so innovative to fly like a friggin' squirrel!

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

javatips (66293) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191012)

That was funny....

By I can see application of this for the military... Squirrel^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HPara-trooper could use techniques and technology "developed" by this guy to drop somewere fast and with little exposure.

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191009)

this guy is more likely going to win a Darwin Award than survive his fall

True but, man what a way to go.

Tomorrow you (or I) might get killed in a car accident. Other than our family/friends nobody will remember us.

If you die in a crazy experiment like this you will be remembered and you will have done something.

Don't get to close to the sun! (5, Funny)

bildungsroman_yorick (825714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190702)

I sure hope he hasn't used wax and feathers as the material for his incredible man flying machine.

...er... (4, Informative)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190703)

If you don't know the current abilities of parachutes, now-a-day, you should do your research.

Shouldn't that be wingsuits? I should dearly hope that most people know the abilities of parachutes - they have been a regular plot device in the media for years.

Re:...er... (1)

ultrasonik (775562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190746)

No, I think he/she meant parachute. Parachutes have come a long way in recent years. Modern rectangular airfoil canopies are far more controllable than the old round ones.

Re:...er... (2)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190851)

Umm, rectangular airfoils have been the preferrede type of parachute used since the late 70's (invented in the mid 60's).

http://www.parachutehistory.com/eng/drs.html [parachutehistory.com]

Like the grandparent said, we've been watching these things in the movies for the last 30 years. The average-joe knows good and well that they are more capable than the round ones most often seen only in World War II movies.

Re:...er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190887)

Square parachutes are not the state of the art, and the average Joe has no clue whatsoever the capabilities of modern eliptical or cross-braced canopies. Whatever you've seen in mainstream movies do not accurately depict what you would see if you were to get a skydiving video.

Re:...er... (1)

PaleBlueCat (843643) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190906)

Ummm - did you say wingsuit or wingnut?

Shouldn't be too hard (1)

myukew (823565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190714)

with some Powerking(tm) bars!

There is a reason (4, Interesting)

harks (534599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190721)

why most famous BASE jumpers are dead. This is it. Unless he's got some secret technology nobody knows about, this is likely suicide. It's also not good for the public image of skydiving when sombody dies like this.

Re:There is a reason (0, Flamebait)

Golias (176380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191037)

It's also not good for the public image of skydiving when sombody dies like this.

Recreational skydiving probably should not have a good public image.

If you skydive on any kind of regular basis, and you are not a paratrooper training for combat, then you are obviously an idiotic adreneline junkie.

This link supports what you're saying. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191052)

http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:WOwb89dacVQJ: www.basejump.org/discus/articles/family.html+%22BA SE+jumpers%22+dead&hl=en&client=firefox-a

He uses a nitpick statistic of only one *Australian* death in Australia and then death by car but is betrayed by the rest of his talk and familiarity with the problem of dealing with dead base jumpers. That and the point of the page is a howto on getting rid of evidence when a jumper dies. Doth protest too much!

Re:There is a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191072)

I doubt it is suicide. What he counting on is that he can control the speed as he approachs the ground. Most likely he has done some flares up in the air and found that he could kill the speed momentarily. That means that he must be know how far off the ground he is when he flares. If he makes a mistake, he is likely to have more forward speed rather than vertical speed. He is more likely to be injured rather than killed.

One nasty gust and he's history. (4, Interesting)

Synapsys (795856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190723)

I'm no expert in aerodynamics or atmospheric dynamics, but don't you take a huge risk with that (apart from the obvious things) with the help of a nasty gust, updraft or the like, an un recoverable spin could occur.... The problem with having a set of wings and no engine is once you our out of control, recovery won't be easy.

Re:One nasty gust and he's history. (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190838)

I have a set of wings and no engine - it's called a GLIDER. It's a lot easier to recover from nasty situations (spins, stalls etc. and landing in unprepared fields) than powered aircraft. An engine doesn't necessarily make something inherently more controllable.

Re:One nasty gust and he's history. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191019)

mod parent up, gliders are so kewl

Batman!!! (4, Funny)

nbharatvarma (784546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190725)

So we are gonna have Batman soon.. Position of Robin is probably available. Any takers ?

Re:Batman!!! (2, Funny)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190738)

I'm a top, not a bottom*... you can have Robin's position.




*not gay.

Re:Batman!!! (2, Funny)

seweso (842331) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190868)

The position of Batman will soon be available too!

suggestion (4, Interesting)

beaverfever (584714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190729)

I'm sure these guys know what they're doing and are figuring out the equations, but here's a suggestion I would like to make: try landing in the suit near the edge of a big cliff, like perhaps near the Grand Canyon, for example. If Jeb gets very low and doesn't like his chances, he could try his damndest to pull up and clear the cliff edge, giving him another chance to release his parachute.

On the other hand, if he did pass the point of no return and went for the landing and overshot a bit, that might be a problem. hmmm.

Water - try landing on water first. Or a mattress - king-size, preferably.

Re:suggestion (1)

adeydas (837049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190762)

in other words, never try landing on hard ground, you might smash yourself to a pulp...

Re:suggestion (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191054)

Water - try landing on water first.
That would be a lovely idea, except for this thing called SURFACE TENSION which makes landing in water about as forgiving as landing on concrete. If he really wanted to be safe he'd fill in a lake with Crisco or something similar, but where's the fun in that>

Is it really flight? (3, Insightful)

bildungsroman_yorick (825714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190730)

It's more of a very impressive controlled fall. Can the wing suits be used in conjunction with parachutes so as to have a back up in case of a failed opening?

Re:Is it really flight? (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190788)

Yes. Wingsuits right now are used with a parachute to slow once the glide is over because wingsuits don't really slow you enough to safely land. If this guy's successful, it's possible we'll see a wingsuit as a backup for a parachute, but more possible that we're going to see wingsuiting taking over for traditional skkydiving in most markets, including military applications. Wingsuits, if this guy's successful, seem a lot less error and failure prone than the traditional 'chute after sufficient training.

Re:Is it really flight? (1)

Gaewyn L Knight (16566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190804)

Heh... well if you have ever seen a wingsuit you would know that a "failed opening" entails you've broken either your arms or your legs... and even then it will partially open on it's own.

You are correct though that a parachute should be used in case surface winds or other factors change and prevent a safe landing.

Re:Is it really flight? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191010)

My guess would be that it's more effective to simply use a second parachute as your backup.

Reminds me of Gomez Addams... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190735)

...from the Addams Family. Every time he did a jump, he used a smaller parachute. By his theory, eventually he would not need any paracute at all.

And of course, he was correct. Eventually, he would have no need for a paracute...

Human flight? (2, Insightful)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190740)

Human flight? don't you mean slowed and directed human falling? It's not like he can leave the ground as soon as he starts flapping his wing suit.

There are a few people that have fallen out of commercial airliners and survived. They didn't have wing suits and fell thousands and thousands of feet.

Re:Human flight? (1)

Synapsys (795856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190808)

Good point, but what where does falling stop and flight begin? Is it the ability to stay aloft for an extended length of time? The ability to rise past the initial point? The ability to not be dead on landing?

Re:Human flight? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190884)

I believe flight is to be able to lift and stay aloft under your own power. Anything else would fall(sic) somewhere between gliding and falling. Using thermals would not be "real" flight, for instance. Ballons? I have no idea.

Need some help getting that bullet out of yer foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191038)

Gliding is un-powered flight. Birds use it also, same goes for thermals. A baseball flys, by definition flight is something moving thru the air, generating lift isn't really required.
Obviously the title should have been something more like "Man lands winged suit, will he survive?"

So is the idea sound? Sure. Increase horizontal speed to generate a reasonable vertical decent rate, bleed off the horizontal speed close enough to the ground the vertical acceleration is negligable, and prepare to eat dirt =) Obviously landing verticaly is the ideal scenerio, but they'll work out how to accomplish the landing flare before they attempt a ground landing...
Do I want to be one of the first to try it? So long as i'm not footing the gas bill, and we can do mid air practices till I'm content. Sure why not.

Re:Human flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191056)

Good point, but what where does falling stop and flight begin?

Lift.

Duh.

Re:Human flight? (1)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191119)

Well, there's flight and then there's powered flight. I think the advantages and abilities of the latter might be poisoning this argument.

Gliding is flying. That would mean, though, that even slight retardations of fall-speed would be considered flight... but that doesn't sit well with me. So far as I'm concerned, the absolute line between flight and fall is the ability to attain bouyancy in air. Rising is nice, and if you want to fly effectively, necessary, but ultimately it's just a luxury for those who aren't just trying to set records. I think that bit about not being dead on landing might be another good criterion.

Build a better mousetrap, and someone will build a smaller glider. I just don't know how he's going to fight the reflex to put his arms down to break his fall. Geesh...

Ah well. Here's hoping he makes it... for his own sake, if none others that I can immediately see arising from this endeavor.

Re:Human flight? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190924)

Hang gliding is human falling too, but you can get lift from thermals and stay up all day. If he can get a decent glide ratio off that thing, he could probably do the same thing. Just looking at it I'd expect it to stall very easily and even if he lands without killing himself I very much doubt that using a suit like that to replace parachuting and hang gliding anytime soon.

By the way, did you notice the last line of TFA? "If Jeb lands the wing-suit without a parachute and survives--he is going to be my hero," What's he going to be if he goes splat, then? Other than flat...

That's not flying... (4, Funny)

Beolach (518512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190743)

That's falling... with STYLE!

Way cool... nice photos in TFA.

Thought they might have been.... (2, Funny)

Mr. BS (788514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190759)


--it's very important to land with zero injuries," said Corliss after analyzing data from the test flight.

Thought they might have been rocket scientists or maybe brain surgeons to figure this one out!

So how'd he get down? (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190764)

The article didn't make it very clear how this guy gets down in the test "flights". (I would call them descents.)

Why anyone would want to get out of a perfectly-functioning airplane is beyond me!

Re:So how'd he get down? (1)

ultrasonik (775562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190849)

Why anyone would want to get out of a perfectly-functioning airplane is beyond me! The door was open.

Re:So how'd he get down? (4, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190863)

If you've ever seen a skydiver's jump ship (the plane that takes them up) you'll realise that there's no way you'd ever describe it as "perfectly functioning". The old joke is they make the jump ship scary enough that the skydivers would rather jump out than land with it, but not so scary that the pilot wants to do the same.

The other joke is:
"What's the difference between skydiving and golf?
In one you go "Whack! Uh oh!" and in the other you go "Uh oh! Whack!"

Re:So how'd he get down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190891)

you obviously haven't seen the plane those guys use.

Re:So how'd he get down? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191033)

As the old adverb (which I believe is either in someone's sig here or in the fortune file) sais:

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Re:So how'd he get down? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191046)

s/adverb/proverb/

"no one has..survived a landing without a chute" (5, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190765)

Not strictly true - the following is one of several true stories of WW2 bomber crew jumping without chutes and surviving.. in this case because he landed on a glass-roofed railwsy station and was slowed by successive levels of shattering glass

Man Survived 22,000-Foot Fall Out of Bomber [209.157.64.200]

Also:
"The greatest fall without "riding" a piece of wreckage goes to Russian Lt. I.M. Chisov, who bailed out of his Ilyushin 4 bomber at 22,000 feet in January 1942, after being attacked by German fighters. His plan was to free-fall to 1,000 feet before opening his parachute, thus limiting his exposure to enemy fire while still in the air. Unfortunately he lost consciousness on the way down, and never opened his parachute. Like Vulovic, he landed in snow and survived, returning to duty three months later". - link [manbottle.com]

There was also a British gunner from a Lancaster bomber who fell from his aircraft during an attack and was saved by fir trees and deep snow.

That said, I still think this guy's a loon. Nobody ever volunteered to jump without a parachute before.

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190949)

On a related note, I've read that in the Halifax explosion, someone was thrown a few kilometers through the air, landed in a tree, and survived.

This was mentioned as an anecdote in a physics book I used two years ago. Does anyone have any further information on this event?

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (2)

AtlanticCarbon (760109) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191021)

Can someone explain to me how the hell these people survived? I always thought you could even hit water and still be crushed at such heights. (On the other hand it's nice to know you pass out before hitting the ground).

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (3, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191085)

Lieutenant Chisov survived mainly through being unconscious - he landed on the side of an extremely steep ravine filled with snow several feet deep and slid through the snow all the way to the bottom, where he awoke with serious bruises, a few fractures and presumably a sense of bewilderment. The British gunner survived in near-identical circumstances but was totally unhurt. The Germans refused to believe his story....

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (4, Interesting)

Matts (1628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191089)

It all comes down to how much you can move an object. When you hit water the object has to move sideways to get out of your way. This is much harder to achieve than moving something down (i.e. by breaking glass) plus the glass will weigh a hell of a lot less than a few hundred meters of water going straight down, so the opposing force is a lot less.

By breaking several layers of glass one by one you slow the body down with a succession of small forces rather than one big one.

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191098)

Glass breaks easily, but not so easily that it won't slow you down going through it. Knock off sufficient speed and you'll hit the ground with a mighty THUMP, but you won't quite go SPLAT. Same with snow.

Water, on the other hand, has a large amount of surface tension. You know that slimy goop that you made in school using cornstarch and water? You barely touch it and it's gooey, you whack it with a hammer and it breaks like a solid. Same principle. You hit the water at 60 MPH you might as well be hitting pavement.

Re:"no one has..survived a landing without a chute (2, Interesting)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191075)

Nobody ever volunteered to jump without a parachute before.
That's not true, either.
I remember seeing a video once of a Hollywood stuntman who jumped out of an airplane without a parachute or "flying suit", and landed on an airbag (not the car kind; the kind that Hollywood stuntmen use for falling-from-a-great-height stunts).

I think that there also have been several cases where a stuntman jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, another stuntman handed him a parachute in mid-air, and the first stuntman put it on and deployed it before reaching the ground.
(One James Bond movie (with Roger Moore as Bond) started with Bond fighting in mid-air with a bad guy and taking his parachute.
I think that this was one of those cases.)

Pics (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190766)

lol (2, Funny)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190769)

a madman on fire imagining that he can fly like batman ???
c00l .....

Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190773)

I'm thinking this gent will need an awful lot of beverage before the jump.

I'm also reminded of a cartoon engery bars.

"This Powersauce newsbreak is brought to you buy Powersauce: Get sauced with Powersauce!"

Looks like he's not the only one. (1)

quaker5567 (841639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190776)

Chuck Berry will be attempting something similar in Winter 2005. [digitaldog.co.nz]

Re:Looks like he's not the only one. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190795)

Its written like he invented it. These things have been around for ages.
3 years ago I was skydiving in Arizona with a German friend who had one.

Hmm (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190782)

If Jeb lands the wing-suit without a parachute and survives-he is going to be my hero

That's one big caveat. ;-)

Some definitions are in order (1)

hussar (87373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190789)

As a couple of posters have already pointed out, this seems more like directed falling or gliding than flying. So, would someone here like to take a shot at clarifying the dividing lines between falling, gliding and flying?

Since parachutists can do all sorts of aerobatic maneuvers by stretching out their arms and making their bodies into airfoils their maneuverability would seem to make what they are doing flying or maybe gliding. But, other than my intent to slow my descent before landing, what differentiates falling from this kind of flying?

Re:Some definitions are in order (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190934)

My off the cuff, non-expert definition:

Falling is an uncontrolled descent, without the ability to land safely. Skydiving is falling before you open your parachute.

Gliding a fall where you have the ability to control your descent. The difference between gliding and falling is a matter of degree not an absolute.

Flying means that you can stay aloft under your own power, which means you need (some sort) of power mechanism, mechanical or organic.

surviving falls (4, Insightful)

jeif1k (809151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190811)

as no one has ever survived a landing attempt without a parachute.

I don't know whether people have survived "attempts", but you can certainly survive falls from airplanes without a parachute: hitting brushes, trees, water, or snow can break your fall sufficiently so that you don't die. Theoretically, even hitting a solid, hard surface is survivable if you break the fall correctly (but I don't know of any actual cases).

Re:surviving falls (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190848)

Yes, try breaking a fall on concrete or solid Earth!

Downer (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190829)

Be a real downer if it doesn't work. He'll probably be in a big depression.

Be positive (1)

955301 (209856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191133)


You might be right, but I think he'll bounce back from it pretty quickly.

Bzzzz... wrong... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190854)

> Basically airfoils, they can perform close to an airplane wing

Nope. Not even close.
Aircraft wings are still MUCH more efficient in producing more lift, and produce at least 10 times less drag than even the latest parachutes. That directly translates into better performance.

Re:Bzzzz... wrong... (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191025)

I am not a rocket scientist.

However, my limited understanding of aerodynamic science tends to suggest that, in parachutes, drag is a *good* thing. Correct me if I'm wrong.

article text (2, Interesting)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190861)

If you don't know the current abilities of parachutes, now-a-day, you should do your research.

Why? I couldn't care less about the abillties of current parachutes.

Human Flight? (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190867)

I never thought I'd live to see the day when humans would take to the air.

Message from another aviation pioneer. (2, Informative)

JJ (29711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190879)

Don't Fly!! Don't Fly!!

You'll get too close to the sun and your wings will melt !!
-- Icarus

Surely (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190882)

Surely if this is human flight (as the Slashdot headline surmises), then hang gliding and paragliding is too? At least with a hang-glider you can soar.

Been Done (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190886)

An Austrian crossed the English channel in the summer of 2003 with a wing suit.

Re:Been Done (1)

keller (267973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191028)

Slashdot covered this: link [slashdot.org]

The guy landed with the use of a parachute, not the wingsuit!

Nice knowin' ya Jeb! (1)

chriskzoo5 (762689) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190909)

Nice knowin' ya Jeb! Apparently you don't know that planes land at about 70+ miles an hour. When you can jump out of a car at 70 mph and not get hurt, then try to land in your silly wing suit.

Human flight is trivially easy... (1)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190943)

...it's human landing without killing yourself that's the tricky part.

Why is it so hard to beleive? (2, Insightful)

true_majik (588374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190945)

You guys are very quick at pointing out how ridiculous this idea sounds. Have you guys seen fotage of the wingsuit in use? It's pretty impressive. Why is it totally impossible to take it a step further? Don't you think that before the wingsuit, people were ridiculing it? And the parachute too? And the airplane? I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but it may very well be possible to land safely with a wingsuit.

We're all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190967)

DOOOOMED!!one!1!

The question is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190976)

..if he is going to land the wingsuit or not.

Its whether or not he's going to make a hole in the ground, and if he'll be able to climb out of it afterwards...

This has ACME written all over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11190978)

This guy watched one too few cartoons. He must have missed the Wyle E. Coyote episode with the wingsuit.

I like this comment! (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190979)

quote: "if jeb SURVIVES this, he will be my hero" LOL........what's with the "if he survives".......

Best Quote (2, Funny)

Bob(TM) (104510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11190991)

Best quote from the article:

"If Jeb lands the wing-suit without a parachute and survives--he is going to be my hero," added Cani.

Between the lines:

And, if he doesn't survive - he'll be dead. Hero/dead ... mutually exclusive.

This flight has been predicted long ago (3, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191000)

I believe that Douglas Adams actually channeled this guy's thoughts during the attempt:

And wow! Hey! What's this thing coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me.

Am I missing Something? (1)

lcsjk (143581) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191039)

This seems to be exactly the same thing I have been watching every July 4th for over ten years. So far as I can tell, his wing may be a little narrower, front to back, but each year I watch the group from the local club glide in on a controlled wing to try and hit a small target. What makes this new one such a big deal?

This guy did not invent anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191049)

He just copied his squirrel [dylangreene.com] !

Another DNA tidbit on flying... (4, Funny)

speedphreak (834189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191066)

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying:

"There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying.

The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Pick a nice day, it suggests, and try it.

The first part is easy.

All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.

That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground.

Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.

Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.

One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It's no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won't. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it's going to hurt if you fail to miss it.

It is notoriously difficult to prise your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people's failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport.

If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phyllum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinity, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner.

This is a moment for superb and delicate concentration.

Bob and float, float and bob.

Ignore all considerations of your own weight and simply let yourself waft higher.

Do not listen to what anybody says to you at this point because they are unlikely to say anything helpful.

They are most likely to say something along the lines of, 'Good God, you can't possibly be flying!'

It is vitally important not to believe them or they will suddenly be right.

Waft higher and higher.

Try a few swoops, gentle ones at first, then drift above the treetops breathing regularly.

DO NOT WAVE AT ANYBODY.

When you have done this a few times you will find the moment of distraction rapidly becomes easier and easier to achieve.

You will then learn all sorts of things about how to control your flight, your speed, your manoeuvrability, and the trick usually lies in not thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but just allowing it to happen as if it was going to anyway.

You will also learn about how to land properly, which is something you will almost certainly cock up, and cock up badly, on your first attempt.

There are private flying clubs you can join which help you achieve the all-important moment of distraction. They hire people with surprising bodies or opinions to leap out from behind bushes and exhibit and/or explain them at the critical moments. Few genuine hitch-hikers will be able to afford to join these clubs, but some may be able to get temporary employment at them."

-- Douglas Adams, 'The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy'

Rename Jed "Captain Obvious" (1)

tdhillman (839276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191135)

"it's very important to land with zero injuries,"

I knew that.

Quick!!! (1)

Bake (2609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11191149)

Somebody put a turbine in the grave of Charles Darwin!

What this guy is going to attempt to pull off will generate at least 10 megawatts!

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11191150)

If you don't know the current abilities of parachutes, now-a-day, you should do your research. Basically airfoils, they can perform close to an airplane wing (high performance turns and lift).

WTF is the submitter smoking? I don't get it.

/head 'asplodes

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