Modern wingsuits do not have brakes. You can only change the angle of attack of the whole arm and leg wing -- analogous to rear riser input -- but you cannot deflect a part of the wing to slow down and increase lift. Thus, poor flaring capabilities of modern wingsuits make them unlandable. Imagine Luigi landing his VX39 on rear risers, without brakes. Ouch! Now imagine landing VX10 (area equal to wingsuit) on rear risers. Quarter the area, double the speed, quadruple the kinetic energy. Quattro ouch!!!!
Jeb did his homework. Unlike most people here making macho impressions by speed typing in front of their computers, Jeb did real experiments flying his wingsuit side-by-side with Luigi on his VX39. Jeb knows his stuff. If he says "This can be done", he will do it. Safely.
I have a few technical ideas and did some calculations to ascertain that this is possible. I don't have money and sponsors to build the stuff needed, and don't have experience necessary. But I do "find it funny how everybody thinks this is so impossible", as Jeb himself writes above.
One key piece of technology could be a flare-able wingsuit, with some means of deflecting the tail of the wings to flare and slow down. Similar to airplanes and canopies.
Another key piece of technology could be a huge pond with powerfull air compressors "bubble-izing" water into a homogenious foam. Air makes water compressible, a substance with density between that of air and water. Several feet layer of bubbled water will help flyer to slow down without hitting him hard. Besides, the foam can be set in motion towards the flyer by pumps, reducing his speed relative to ground. As for retrieving the jumper from water -- as long as he doesn't die on landing, who cares about him drowning after?
Hitting water at ~60mph tangentially is nothing new to water skiers and swoopers. I believe flare-able wingsuit can be brought to <60mph horizontal and zero or almost zero vertical speed. Hook turn in a wingsuit, anyone?
Or it could be done completely different, perhaps using some kind of very light mesh suspended from a bridge on bungee cords. Jeb does have an experience flying his wingsuit under the bridges.
When parachutes were round, who could have imagined that there will be times when people will be swooping ground or water at 70mph with a fraction of an inch precision and land safely?... Wingsuit can be made similar to ram air canopy in all aspects -- swoopable and landable. There are many ways -- other than breaking bones -- to safely dissipate the kinetic energy.
As Jeb said and Einstein repeated, "great spirits often encounter heavy opposition from mediocre minds." Think outside the box.
(This post was edited by veter_ on Aug 8, 2005, 12:42 PM)