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Flying Humans

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the that-trick-never-works dept.

Toys 330

mlimber sends us to the NYTimes for a story about flying people who jump from planes or other high locations wearing a wing suit akin to a flying squirrel's. Their efforts have potential military and Xtreme sports applications. The story profiles, with video, one guy who wants to be the first to jump from a plane and land without a parachute (and live). Here's a YouTube video of another of these fliers skimming six feet above skiers in the Swiss Alps. Quoting: "Modern suit design features tightly woven nylon sewn between the legs and between the arms and torso, creating wings that fill with air and create lift, allowing for forward motion and aerial maneuvers while slowing descent. As the suits, which cost about $1,000, have become more sophisticated, so have the pilots. The best fliers, and there are not many, can trace the horizontal contours of cliffs, ridges and mountainsides."

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330 comments

NIGGERS (-1, Flamebait)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666433)

NIGGERS UP IN THIS BITCH

64 years late! (5, Informative)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666443)

one guy who wants to be the first to jump from a plane and land without a parachute (and live)
He's at least 64 years too late. Alan Magee [wikipedia.org] and Nick Alkemade [wikipedia.org] already survived jumps from aircraft without parachutes in 1943 and 1944.

Re:64 years late! (4, Interesting)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666465)

That and this sort of thing has been around for years. Outside of of the cinema and within, take the angels in "Reign of Fire", I'm pretty sure I've even seen it in a bond flick. The Guinness Book of Records has something of it. Slow news day at /. HQ?

Wile E's failure... (3, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666933)

...is our gain. It was going good for him until he got smug about it.

Re:64 years late! (1)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667201)

Slow NERD day you mean?

Re:64 years late! (4, Insightful)

Repton (60818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666787)

That's not quite the same thing -- they didn't plan to jump without a parachute. If you throw enough people out of aeroplanes (as WWII did), it's not quite so amazing if a couple survive. This guy wants to be one from one -- much more difficult.

Re:64 years late! (3, Insightful)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666935)

When you think about it, it doesn't really matter how far they fall as long as it is past a certain threshold.

With a the wind resistance of a skydiver on earth, you would reach your terminal velocity of around 125MPH in about 1500ft or about the height of the sears tower.

Of course this still is pretty high and has a very high risk of death, it would result in only the same risk of death as a fall from 15,000 ft.

Re:64 years late! (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667317)

as my uncle Ralph, a vietnam era pilot, liked to say, "why would any one want to leave a perfectly good airplane?"

Vesna Vulovic (2, Informative)

XSforMe (446716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667147)

Vesna Vulovic [wikipedia.org] , a stewardess for JAT airlines holds the world record for surviving a free fall without a parachute.

Re:Vesna Vulovic (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667303)

Sorry to quibble, but she wasn't in free fall. She survived by being in part of a damaged plane. There are lots of people who have survived crash landings of airplanes that came down in multiple pieces.

She may hold the record for the longest fall among those people.

Re:64 years late! (1)

HadesInjustice (872477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667167)

I agree, but I think the main idea is to not only survive but also not breaking any bones. Remember - drop and roll!

Re:64 years late! (1)

__Drachen__ (152227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667269)

No, no... its PLF...

PLF==Parachute Landing Fall and is taught in every first jump course.

Re:64 years late! (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667441)

Don't be cruel, GP has simply confused the PLF with a Fire Safety Lesson [lessonplanspage.com] he had in kindergarten.

How high? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667289)

I'm sure many, many people have jumped from aircraft without parachutes and survived. It's just that the aircraft were parked on the runway, or in the hangar at the time. :-)

Of course, navy frogmen jump out of helicopters into the sea all the time, and I'm sure that there were many soldiers being dropped off in combat (ie Vietnam) who jumped out of helicopters while they were still flying. Heck, it wouldn't even surprise me if someone dug up a reference of pre-WWI barnstormers having people jump out of the planes into haystacks.

That's EASY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667527)

I just tried it. I jumped off an aircraft and I SURVIVED!

Oh, didn't I mention that the aircraft was on the ground when I jumped? I should.

The best fliers (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666453)

The best fliers, and there are not many,
That is because the bad one die.

Darwinism in action

OB In Soviet Russia (3, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666455)

In Soviet Russia, Boris and Natasha get Moose and Flying Human.

Re:OB In Soviet Russia (5, Interesting)

hazem (472289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667029)

You joke about Soviet Russia, but when I was a paratrooper - many years ago - there were stories of how the Russians would drop airborne troops by flying very low and dropping them into to snow drifts.

Maybe they just told us that so we wouldn't bitch about how fast we hit the ground WITH parachutes... One thing the army taught me is that someone ALWAYS has it worse.

Summer recruits (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667351)

Yeah, the Russian commanders probably told them that they didn't have it so bad - the guys who were drafted in the summer had to do it without snow.

Re:OB In Soviet Russia (2, Funny)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667529)

Which reminds me of the story of a group of draftees (this goes back a ways) who were selected to begin jump training. They were told how they'd begin jumping the next day. There was some muttering and in response to "Any questions?", one soldier asks "how high will we be jumping from, sir?"
    "About 2,500 feet."
    More muttering, and the guy hesitantly raises his hand to ask another question: "Uh, couldn't we start a little lower, maybe 200 feet?"
    "200 feet!? Good god, man, the parachutes won't have time to open!"
    "Oh, parachutes. You didn't tell us we'd be using parachutes."

(I've got a couple of static-line jumps under my belt, but decided it'd be more useful to learn to pilot the plane than to jump out of it.)

I got mine... (4, Funny)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666457)

...from Acme products. Tragically the roadrunner continues to elude me.

Re:I got mine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666515)

THEY LIVE... until they hit the ground

Why? (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666459)

I love the quote from the article:

Which leads to an obvious and inevitable question: Why?
"Because everybody thinks that it's not possible," Mr. Corliss said. "The point is to show people anything can be done. If you want to do amazing things, then you have to take amazing risks."
That sums up so much. Why does any one do anything? Who does anyone jump out from the sky? Why does anyone contribute to open source?

Because it is there

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666639)

Bah. I am skeptical. I think there's another answer, for when the reality of it being possible sets in: because flying is danged fun.

I mean, why do people go on roller coasters? Not because it's impossible, that's for sure...

And the answer is (1)

apankrat (314147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667033)

Stress -> Adrenalin & Norepinephrine -> Physical and mental euphoria

Hardly works for an open source, though some uber-optimization can give a brain spasm to those trying to fix a bug in it :)

Re:Why? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667285)

when the reality of it being possible sets in: because flying is danged fun.
Yeah, even something as tame as para-sailing. Did that for the first time last month.

Of course, any kind of flying where you don't have to strip half naked, pass through metal detectors and get searched by goons would be fun too. Only problem with those suits is that I'll bet lighting cigarettes is pretty tough.

Re:Why? (1)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666655)

I like your point, but i'm not entirely sure that contributing to open source software is the same death-defying act of derring-do as jumping out of a plane with a few thin pieces of lycra stretched between my arms whilst skirting the edges of vertical rock faces.

Re:Why? (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666709)

Okay Aneurysm, I'll give you that one.

I was not necessarily saying that open source is just as exciting as jumping out of a plane. I am just saying that it is something that people often do because they enjoy the challenge, not for any particular intrinsic benefit.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666917)

Sorry, I didn't mean to jibe. I know what you're saying and I agree, althought I think the quote is more about making huge risks for huge gains (but also potential losses). Sometimes it just feels like Godwins Law somtimes on slashdot though, except like this: As a Slashdot thread grows longer, the probability of a comparison to the benefits of open source approaches one. In fact I name it Aneurysm's law :)

Re:Why? (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666979)

Sorry, I didn't mean to jibe...
No jibe occurred. I agree with you sentiments entirely. I was just hoping to extract something out of this mess. However I have have scummed to the law of averages....

Hey! (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667115)

I was not necessarily saying that open source is just as exciting as jumping out of a plane.
Speak for yourself there, buddy! :)

Re:Why? (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667333)

But there is an intrinsic benefit to contributing to Open Source.

Re:Why? (1)

heteromonomer (698504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666681)

I think it might have applications in airplane safety in future. With (many more) improvements such suits can possibly be used by every passenger to quickly bail out of an aircraft in trouble, at least at low altitudes.

Re:Why? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667355)

I think it might have applications in airplane safety in future.
Nope. From the sounds of it, flying in one of those suits takes some training. They won't let you jump out of a plane with a parachute without taking a safety class first. There are floating vests not parachutes in planes now for a reason.

Re:Why? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666727)

Why does any one do anything? Who does anyone jump out from the sky? Why does anyone contribute to open source?

Because it is there
Struth, it would be much harder to jump out of the sky if it weren't there...

Re:Why? (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667235)

"if you ask a mountain climber why they climb mountains their reply is always 'because it's there', well, an elephant's bum is there..."
(paraphrased from Jasper Carrott)

Re:Why? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667461)

Hey, has anyone survived driving an ice pick through the base of their skull and swishing it around a few times?

The guy's a Darwin Award applicant.

-jcr

Darwin Awards (4, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666471)

The best fliers, and there are not many

Darwin in action.

Re:Darwin Awards (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666527)

Actually, doesn't the term "the best" by definition sort of mean there can't be that many? The best means superior to all others, and unless you're talking about something that has an absolute and measurable limit to "perfection", then "the best" is a pretty exclusive club.

Re:Darwin Awards (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667009)

Actually, doesn't the term "the best" by definition sort of mean there can't be that many? The best means superior to all others, and unless you're talking about something that has an absolute and measurable limit to "perfection", then "the best" is a pretty exclusive club.
Seriously!

The Best is a *very* exclusive club.

THE Best means implicitly that (as made famous in The Highlander)

There Can Be Only One

People who write such phrases as

The best fliers, and there are not many
write such crap/drivel/rubbish because they don't have anything useful to contribute, but they get paid "by the word" so the more syllables they sprout the more money they make. If they're just spouting off in a public forum (eg like slashdot) they obviously think that taking 20 minutes to contribute 5 seconds of information is proof that they're intelligent (or something).

An understatement (5, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666479)

The landing, as one might expect, poses the biggest challenge,

I would say it's the only challenge actually. Gliding around in any winged suit is fun and safe as long as you still open the chute at the end.

Re:An understatement (4, Funny)

blastwave (757518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666579)

The principal difficulty seems to be in throwing oneself at the ground and missing.

Re:An understatement (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666821)

The landing, as one might expect, poses the biggest challenge,

I would say it's the only challenge actually. Gliding around in any winged suit is fun and safe as long as you still open the chute at the end.

Pilots have a saying that sums things up quite nicely: "Take-off is optional. Landing is compulsory."

Re:An understatement (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666975)

As described in the article and accompanying video, in this case that challenge is very circumscribed: he will "land" in a $2 million "landing trap" that has a 20' x 20' entrance which funnels into a gradually decreasing slope, like a ski jump landing. He's not going to be "hitting the ground" in any meaningful way.

Re:An understatement (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667043)

I would say it's the only challenge actually
Absolutely! Gravity does all the work for you. If you don't do anything, you will still continue to fall.

I ponder (5, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666487)

would it be possible to use an engine to turn these gliders into true flying suits? Similar to the Bell suit, but with real lift to allow it to fly for longer?

Re:I ponder (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666573)

I would think that even the lightest engine powerful enough to generate enough lift for flight would be far too heavy for this. However, perhaps we could see stationary "Jump pads" that generate powerful upward drafts for people with the suit to jump over, spread their suits to maximum surface area and take off high enough to "fly" some distance from the jump point.

Re:I ponder (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666597)

Of course it would! Just put telescoping poles on each limb and increase the wingspan about 20 feet or so... then add an engine and a propeller... maybe incase the guy in some kind of lightweight metal to protect him from the wind and such and to make him a bit more aerodynamic...

Re:I ponder (4, Interesting)

Mawbid (3993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666663)

yup [youtube.com]

Re:I ponder (2, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666693)

"...possible to use an engine to turn these gliders into true flying suits? "

Pull my finger, Phillip, and we'll see....

Sure, no problem for a gear head (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666951)

All you would need is a propeller hat add-on for the gear head...

Re:I ponder (1)

fat bastard of doom (1187649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667231)

Just eat Taco Bell. The farts have more thrust than most rockets.

Re:I ponder (1)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667357)

Considering the only safe means of propulsion for jet packs like the Bell run on 20 second blast of HP sauce (atomized liquid hydrogen peroxide) it is very unlikely that a practical pack will happen anytime soon. A truly flame/heat resistant suit increases the weight to the point where a genuine jet pack is not feasible, although I am sure someone is going to try. I have visions of flying fiery chicken wings and lots of wtf were they thinking would be aviators.

Falling with style (3, Funny)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666491)

Kinda like Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story

Bad news... (3, Informative)

talkingpaperclip (952112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666495)

"one guy who wants to be the first to jump from a plane and land without a parachute (and live"

I have some bad news for this idiot. Plenty of people have survived jumping out of planes without parachutes.

Nick Alkemade was an RAF tail gunner in World War II who jumped out of his flaming plane and fell 18,000 feet. He only suffered a sprained leg after he hit a tree and landed in snow.

Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant who fell out of a plane after an explosion, fell in snow, and survived.

Re:Bad news... (3, Funny)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666685)

Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant who fell out of a plane after an explosion, fell in snow, and survived.

And he liked it!

Re:Bad news... (1)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666889)

Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant who fell out of a plane after an explosion, fell in snow, and survived.
And he liked it!

I don't think so... Vesna Vulovic [wikipedia.org] was female. ;)

Re:Bad news... (5, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667171)

Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant who fell out of a plane after an explosion, fell in snow, and survived.
And he liked it!

I don't think so... Vesna Vulovic [wikipedia.org] was female. ;)

After the accident, at least...

Re:Bad news... (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667255)

And Stuey Gluck fell out of a plane and survived, too.

Oh, wait, that was a film [imdb.com] . My bad.

Flying? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666501)

Are their any true airfoils involved? This seems like nothing more than a creative way to fall.

Re:Flying? (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666653)

Are their any true airfoils involved? This seems like nothing more than a creative way to fall.

"That's not flying, it's falling with style"

Woody, Toy Story

Re:Flying? (1)

KC1P (907742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666885)

I wouldn't know about this in particular, but single-surface hang gliders effectively create an airfoil by defining the top and letting a pool of dead air (uh, or something, I'm sure not an AeroE) define the rest. So I imagine that's what they mean about this thing.

Obviously, when they say "lift" they just mean it contributes an upward component to the whole system. They're still plummeting. The clips I've seen look they're doing a little better than 1:1 (which is actually pretty impressive, considering) but not much better.

The maker of my H.G. reserve parachute claims their design (pulled-down apex but I don't know and/or wouldn't understand what else is special about it) generates "lift" too, whatever that means. I sure hope it still goes down not up! It's bad enough trying to crash-land a piece of twisted wreckage gracefully w/o worrying about winding up in outer space.

Re:Flying? (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667549)

Obviously, when they say "lift" they just mean it contributes an upward component to the whole system.
Well, um, yes. When you have a wing that's in the right shape, and you move air fast enough past it on top of it, it's pulled up. How that is done safely is the $!0,000,000 question and there are only two companies left still in the business. You can see the effect just by blowing across a sheet of paper held in your hand.

You wouldn't need as heavy of an engine if you were starting out dropped from a plane, you also wouldn't need an over-sophisticated wing design because you are starting out with enough air speed that you'll get enough lift from just about anything. The engine is only needed to maintain air speed and that's a much easier problem to solve. This was all done in the 1950's with specialized aircraft and how all the earliest speed records were set, so it's even been done before. A human as an airframe is the only exotic component.

Been around for 10 years (4, Informative)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666519)

These things have been around for 10 years. Google Birdman Suit [bird-man.com] or go to any skydiving boogie. Anyone with a D license can demo one.

Re:Been around for 10 years (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666619)

Yep... I'll bet there's even a record for longest sustained flight using such a suit. If I recall correctly, the method for landing is something to the effect of making the landing entry as close to horizontal as possible and sliding in along the stomach.

Not something I'd ever want to try, but interesting anyway.

Re:Been around for 10 years (1)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666789)

There was a British guy who held the World Record for longest horizontal skydive I believe using one of these suits. Landing was still by parachute though I believe. http://www.bpa.org.uk/skydive/pages/people/adriannichols.htm [bpa.org.uk] and http://adriannicholas.com [adriannicholas.com]

Re:Been around for 10 years (2, Interesting)

Leebert (1694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666777)

Yeah, Here's a picture of a friend of mine jumping from a skyvan with one on:

http://leebert.org/skydive/jump2.jpg [leebert.org]

Sad that the flash didn't fire as I expected. Would have been a great shot.

(I took up skydiving two summers ago... I finally actually finished AFF last summer. Hopefully will get my "A" license this spring, when it warms back up again.)

That wasn't flying! That was... falling with style (1, Insightful)

victim (30647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666529)

Apparently my title isn't enough to qualify as a post. I will regale you with this snippet from my email of today...

This is to inform you that the situation earlier today regarding a potential problem with a student did not occur and the library has been reopened.

Re:That wasn't flying! That was... falling with st (3, Funny)

McFadden (809368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666649)

Dammit... Now I want to know about the library incident.

man alive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666567)

Holy underwear, batman!

Damn, I have got to go get one of those suits. That has the be the most awesome thing I've ever seen

Bah (1)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666615)

This is neither news nor for nerds !

Patrick De Gayardon (4, Informative)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666633)

Patrick was working on developing these winged suits before he died when a rigging error caused his parachute to malfunction. He was planning a way of skiing with one of these suits, so that he could take off and land on the way down. http://www.bpa.org.uk/skydive/pages/people/gayardon.htm [bpa.org.uk]

Blue Skies Patrick

Viable or not... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666677)

that YouTube video is Awesome.

The Man Who Rode the Thunder (4, Interesting)

pigiron (104729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666687)

In 1960 William Rankin ejected from his F8U Crusader jet at 48,000 feet and his parachute was ripped away in the jet stream. He traveled 150 miles and didn't come down for an hour. There are more stories like it here: http://www.greenharbor.com/fffolder/ffreading.html [greenharbor.com]

Medieval flying suits made from silk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666737)

Does this leave the possibility open of any similar Medieval flying suits made from silk?

Would explain a lot of the vampire mythology...

Flying Squirrel Fursuit? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666753)

Too bad we can't get everyone who wears an animal suit to jump out of a plane.

lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21666795)

I saw Tucker Max at a bar last week. Yeah, that Tucker Max. I wouldn't have known (or cared), but he made it a point to tell everybody who he was. Funny thing was, he was hitting on chicks too fat to fuck and getting turned down. Th kind of chicks that normally beg for dick. Not surprising. He's got 0 personality and is on his way to looking like cowboy neal. Probably a few too many nights compensating for his inability to get laid by scarfing down an extra large pizza or two. What a chump.

Gettin' close... (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666833)

I happen to use the same fabric the 'flying squirrel' suit makers use, although in a much different application. Several years ago (5-6?) I was told by a sport chute (which is the name of the fabric) and squirrel suit maker that they'd had a mid-air link up between a guy under chute (albeit small) and a guy wearing the 'squirrel suit'. I don't think it unlikely that that someone will make, if not accomplish, a 'squirell suit' landing, before too many years are out.

How many people *confirm* the first guys results with *successful* landings of their own, _that_ will make the difference. All the difference in the world. :)

Good luck to all who try! I hope you have statistically strong results!

Safe Practice (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666871)

The tricky part of these wingsuits is how to practice enough to get good, without smashing to goo because you're not good enough.

Now there's a solution, that's probably fun enough in itself that many "skydivers" won't ever have to take a risk at all: SkyVenture [skyventure.com] has wind tunnels set up around the world expressly for simulating skydiving, but without jumping out of a plane. Jumps that last 2-3 minutes, with 45-60 minute setup and plane rides each jump, can now spend hours just "diving" in the chamber.

Maybe once the skills of maneuvering are learned in the tunnel, a suit wearer can tackle the real sport: facing the fear of jumping out of a plane with nothing but a simulator history to save them from smashing to bits.

Re:Safe Practice (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667161)

Given the usual cost of these things it's 45 minutes of setup and video training followed by 3 or 4 "jumps" of 2-3 minutes max.

All for $75+.

Re:Safe Practice (1)

Neo Quietus (1102313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667239)

I read about these squirrel suits some time ago in Popular Science, and they cannot be practiced with in a wind tunnel because they move you... it's not possible to stay in one place and just fall with these things.

Better video (4, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666931)

There is a much better video of what you can do with one of these suits Here [snotr.com]

Why fly a glider... (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21666959)

when you can fly a jet [youtube.com] ?

warren miller (1)

generic (14144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667005)

Got some really cool video of this being done at the Iger or Jungfrau in Switzerland I don't recall. It was in his movie 'off the grid' I think. What was really cool is the sound the guy made going past the camera, sounded like a jet. Pretty crazy.

Any Aerodynamics Testing? (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667047)

It would be interesting to see if any legit aerodynamics analysis and/or testing has been done on these suits?

It appears that the suits are just trading vertical speed for horizontal speed. That might keep the flyer from making a crater in a field somewhere, but the human body won't tolerate a 100 MPH slide along the ground very well either. It might be possible to 'land' on a ski slope or a lake. But if the goal is to set down on flat ground, that speed will have to be reduced.

The aero folks get concerned with things like wing loading, drag and stall speed when figuring aircraft landing characteristics. The same would appear to apply here. Unfortunately, we already know what one suitable (no pun intended) glider configuration looks like that is safe for humans. It's a paraglider configuration. I don't think you can hang that much airfoil between your arms and legs.

Re:Any Aerodynamics Testing? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667163)

I don't think you can hang that much airfoil between your arms and legs.

Buddy, let me tell you, I've got plenty of airfoil where it counts.

Re:Any Aerodynamics Testing? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667271)

I don't think you can hang that much airfoil between your arms and legs.

Not with today's fabrics. But perhaps ... with some sort of nanotech-inspired hyperlifting fabric design from the future? :)

Re:Any Aerodynamics Testing? (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667301)

As the article states, the goal is *not* to set down on flat ground -- that's pretty much out of the question. He will be landing on a ski slope-like device.

Re:Any Aerodynamics Testing? (2, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667443)

there was an article in popular science some time ago about these suits, that went into some detail about the physics of it all. The trouble turns out to be, that if you built a suit with enough wing material to give you enough drag to go slow enough to land without a normal 'chute, you'd rip your arms and legs off when you jumped out of the plane. the wings we have at this point are just shy of the maximum size the human body can stand to open mid flight without loosing an appendage. Thus, as it stands now, the current basic design of the suit (wing between the legs, and under each arm to the leg, reverse delta wing style) won't work, and someone has to do some serious design work to come up with an alternate design/materials/technique of flying to create a way to fly, and then finally apply enough drag to land. the way I personally see it (and i am not a physicist ) the solutions may be some sort of imaginary material like in batman that when an electrical charge is applied, it becomes rigid, and has a tensile strength near that of steel, which would allow you to make a suit that became rigid on command. thus, you make the suit, where you launch with small wings, fly, ridgidize the suit, and then cause the wings to expand somehow, giving you enough drag to land, but short of a parachute.

Obligatory Far Side Caption (3, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667065)

"Say what's a mountain goat doing way up here in a cloud bank?"

Human endurance (0)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667087)

The limits of Human Endurance are pushed day by day. IT is the process of evolution at work.

Flying Dreams (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667103)

I often have dreams where I'm flying like these guys. Oddly, in these dreams I never question that it should be impossible; it feels like the most normal thing, even though no one else in my dreams can fly.

Maybe I'll try one out someday...

Relevant Perry Bible Fellowship Comic (1)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667313)

Today I'm Going to Fly [pbfcomics.com]

Pass... (2, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667149)

Just look at the suit! It would sharply direct 140mph air at my man parts!

there's a better video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667307)

I can't find it again right now but I was looking at these back in March and someone is hugging a cliff, then does a roll in mid-air and continues over a road. It's far more amazing than the snow one which has no contrast/perspective.

Forget jumping from airplanes (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667353)

I want to see a flying suit where the guy makes it up off the ground, into the air, tools around and then comes back down in one piece. The rub, of course, is that the engines so far aren't up to the task of a vertical take-off and a horizontal take-off brings to mind someone on jet roller skates or a belly toboggan with wheels.

Come to think of it, landing in one of these jet suits would also be tricky. Parafoil guys can manage a running landing because the wing has great lift at low speeds. The batsuit guys tend to be traveling way too fast for non-Evil Kinevel landing.

A suit? (5, Funny)

omnipresentbob (858376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667449)

And here I thought it was Python [xckd.com] ...

Domestic Surveillance or Forced Marketing... (0, Offtopic)

johnquincyadams (1201973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667497)

I can't decide whether I'm more comfortable with them pulling information OUT of my emails, or inserting information INTO my web page? I guess I'd probably stick with the latter. Check this out: http://fakerush.blogspot.com/2007/10/us-domestic-surveillance.html [blogspot.com]
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