It takes a hang-glider sized wing to reliably land a human at survivable speeds.
Invoke some "magic" technology that cuts that size in half. It's still far too large to hang on the human skeleton and call a "wingsuit".
Aerodynamics is pretty well understood, and if something the size of a person was supposed to be flying around, evolution would have exploited that opportunity. This isn't warp-drive or transporter wish-and-make-it-so technology ... it comes down to mass, wing area and airspeed. A small wing area and a large mass equals a high airspeed ... one that's unsurvivable at landing. I've seen survivable wingsuit descent rates with my own eyes, but the person was hauling ass forward to get that descent rate.
But, who am I to crush someone's dreams? Make your funeral arrangements and go try it. BTW, in what font do you want us to write "Dumb Ass" on your tombstone?
Reference: Placing the armor around the back chest or wherever will not protect the human from serious injury or death. The outcome is similar if you confront two tanks and make them frontal crash at high speed ( 50 mph) Whole crew in both tanks will be dead despite the tons of protection around them... There is no deformation zone... analogy to this is that it is irrelevant if the chest cage would be smashed from impacting on the grass, concrete, asphalt or will be crashed from impacting in to body armor... XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
So,...what I think I hear you saying is that some sort of material like an advanced honeycombed foam rubber shock absorbant or an advanced composite technology honeycomb inpact absorbing crush zone material in between two layers of kevlar like is used in a bullet proof vest,...( and like what is used in racing helmets and in the head on frontal crash force absorbant technology on cars ,...WOULD NOT allow "for the possibility" of no damage being done to a lightweight but good conditioned and muscular human body that had conditioned itself over time to more and more shock in the anticipated landing portion of the body...
If the inside of those tanks were coated with two feet of some advanced foam rubber and each of the guys in the tanks had a ball of that foam robber two foot thick around them , they WOULDN"T SURVIVE THE CRASH?
I would disagree.... unless the actual de-acceleration from the sudden stop had enough force to tear out their aortas or damage other internal organs like their brain..... I don't know what the impact force and deacceleartion force would have to be to do THAT kind of an instant "kill" or to cause internal bleeding for a slow death, but I "think" it would have to be much greater than the perhaps 10 mph vertical speed vector I have been guesstimating and envisioning in my mind for a successful well timed and executed flare to actual landing touchdown at say a 60to 80 mph forward speed.
Like I said,....I could be and probably "am" wrong... I have done more damge to myself walking into the corner of walls in dark hotel rooms than I have coming off motorcycles at 35 to 40mph into grass fields severla times in my 20's , so the speeds do not seem to create a predictable outcome for "my body"..... However I think suggesting human legs as potential landing gear for a landing at say 60 to 80mph forward speed and 10mph vertical speed I would anticipate would certainly cripple and tear the backbone out of any human being.....
Given a "FORCED AT GUNPOINT choice,..I would go with the type of honeycombed force absorbing one piece ecoskeleton I was suggesting and with impact wear away low friction material , spring loaded shock absorbing skids on the bottom body, head and shouders of the one piece ecoskelton ( like I saw being used on all the jets that have been designed for wheels up landings under FARPart25 since 1978).....
That's all from me.....on "this" topic. My prediction statement stands and I'll bet anyone one hundred bucks. ( remember ---within the next 20 years !)
" Stoney" ( just another of the pre-winter trolls)
Matt H? you are a mechanical engineer,... what would the forces "be" on three skids 4 inches apart running longitudinally along a body ecoskelton for a "Lurch type human ( strong. tough, muscular) at touchdown ( let's say 145lbs in the suit of mass traveling at say a 60mph and 80mph forward speed and a 10mph vertical speed.....??? I'm just curious if any comparison can be done to other sports like the forces of hitting a wall in a stockcar going 80 to 100mph or a flipping Grand Prix auto at 100mph I have seen land from 20 feet up and have the driver survive somehow?
Tony, this isn't pandering to trolls, remember, most people don't really know what our capabilities are, exactly, nor the difference between what we can do easily and routinely versus what we can do at our theoretical limits. Now, Stoney, I'll try to address your points... A couple years ago Jeff started showing up claiming sub-30's, low 20's and people started calling bullshit. It wasn't bullshit. You've seen the hack I fly these days to take on the x-bird boys. That is the -smallest- set of armwing hacks I've done, cut down to be user friendly and easy to fly. I don't know if you ever saw the toecable suspension version I had a couple years back but it looked like a tent and produced fallrates so low my Neptune simply did not record the skydive at all, or logged a hop-and-pop. That thing could have easily pulled a 4+ minute skydive from 13 but there was no way in hell my arms could take it. Past 3:40 or so, my arms are so wasted I can't fly for shit and my fallrate goes up. I can barely pull at the end of a flight like that, let alone flare the suit to a maximum planeout, with perfect accuracy, at the exact split second I need to. Even if I conserved energy, flew limp at high fallrate all the way down, and tried a hard planeout at the bottom, I wouldn't bet my life on my ability to hit zero as I arrived. There is no margin for error. NONE. Face-first, if you're off by 1 seconds worth of change in speed, thats the difference between kissing the surface and arriving at 22 mph with an incredible whack. 2 years ago I wrecked landing a reserve in a downwash off the cliff out in the back field here. I don't know if I can describe the sickening sensation of having flared the canopy down to my waist with no change to the descent rate. The ground just kept coming up with the same high speed till I hit it. My best guess would be maybe 25 mph vertical, tops. I hit feet first and the impact ran my knees into my chest so hard I spent the night in the ICU with cardiac trauma. It was a useful lesson in what things look like in the last 50 feet when you've given all you have to give for control inputs, you have nothing left, the ground is still coming up so fast it looks like you're still in freefall and you know, "this is gonna hurt". Just because its theoretically doable doesn't mean it necessarily ought to be done. I'm actually a believer, and more optimistic than most. I DO have experience, for example, as a human projectile across a water surface. There was an episode with some friends awhile back with a jetboat, 200 feet of rope and a rubber raft. If the boat pulls enough G's with a hard turn at 50 mph the rider is torn off the raft and flicked across the lake like a bug. You'll skip and tumble for quite a distance before you slow down enough to break the water, and when you do, depending on your body position in midtumble, you are subjected to various levels of random violence to random body parts. I got results ranging from "totally harmless" to "hit so hard it tore my watch off and almost broke my nose". I've also done a fair bit of quarry jumping, 40 to 60 foot drops. If you fuck it up even slightly, it really, really hurts. And even with that experience in water landings under various conditions, and owning a wingsuit already capable of getting within those conditions, I regard the odds of surviving such an attempt as fair at best.
If I somehow got a double total mal with nothing out, I would make for water with a certain optimistic confidence of "I DO have one last chance and pretty good odds of pulling it off" because I'm pretty sure I could get my suit down to within cliff-jumping speed range in a maxed out all-or-nothing stall within 40 feet of the water's surface if it was life or death. But I would not attempt it unless the alternative was certain death.
I just don't see this as a stunt worth trying to do. And as for the midget/lightweight person thing, it ain't gonna help. I was ill first part of the season this year and for awhile my weight was down to 122 lbs. My fallrate got worse because I was too weak to fly maxed out. Theres a certain weight below which being any lighter really doesn't help. Now, a really fit 75 lb midget could do it, but then his wing area would still be too small to go sub-teens. The negativity around the idea of landing a suit isn't about promoting or discouraging achievement. Its more about the fact that those most qualified to try are asking is it really an achievement or would it actually just be a stupid thing to do? Like Scott said, makes as much sense as landing a refrigerator. We have canopies for this. I've worked out a number of ideas for expanding-wingsuit hacks that blur the line between canopy and wingsuit, and what you wind up with is a clumsy wearable canopy that would be barely controllable and likely to biff about as hard as I did under my reserve. Thats not a stunt, its an accident. If its landable with a sanely survivable margin for error, it just isn't a wingsuit anymore. Doesn't fly like one, doesn't feel like one, doesn't look like one. So whats the point? -B
Therefore, I'd up your bet to at least $500 or $1000. (Readers, don't believe me? Click the YouTube links and research the World Records. People have hit 89mph on downhill skiis as early as YEAR 1932, and there's Phillippe's 150mph downhill ski speed in Vars, France)
Once, I have also hit nearly 60mph on downhill skiis (the thin kind of racing skiis that are taller than me, not the hourglass types popular today) skiing straight down a quiet day on a very steep/very flat double-black-diamond slope. On a steep straight hill stretch, my personal experience is that it isn't that difficult to stay stable at nearly half wingsuit speed on skiis, if the hill is well-groomed in advance. (Note -- the first time was downright scary for a bit, but I loved doing it on this specific hill during quiet secluded moments) Given proper surface grooming, and a long stretch, a 120mph ski landing is probably feasible as you'll decelerate very quickly, using your winsuit as an airbrake, once you touched down very carefully. Then you won't need the scary experienced of sustained world-record ski-speeds, as you will decelerate to mere-ordinary-ski-speeds in a mad hurry with a wingsuit as an airbrake after touching down. At the beginning you'd have an extreme lean forward and need to carefully rebalance to upright position as you slowed down, using wingsuit as an airbrake and to help you get upright as you slowed down, without falling forward or backwards. (This balancing skill of leaning into the wind in fast skiing, even without wingsuit, is practiced in advance with ski racing and ski jumps -- and could be practiced while wearing wingsuits to get familiar with its quicker braking than just your human body, although only up to a certain speed before you're required to exit from an airplane)
A wipeout in a 150mph landing would be bad, but more survivable than the non-fatal 300mph motorcycle wipeout ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShtunugNVBs ) -- the world's fastest non-fatal motorcycle wipeout during a motorcycle world record speed attempt -- 300 miles per hour scrape on level dirt ground -- SURVIVED. A miscalculated wingsuit landing at 150mph on snow, is probably far more survivable, especially if wearing a protection suit under the wingsuit. More survivable, anyway, than the other approaches.
Technically, as having been a fast downhill skiier (but not wingsuiter), my perspective is that I supect I think it's all cheaper and easier than trying styrofoam and custom-built-ramp approaches, but would definitely need lots of practice runs on virtual hills in the sky / GPS data / trial skims / taking ski racing courses / etc.
I'd say, let the reporter do his job and write an article. But I think the ski landing method is probably the safest, provided you take ski-racing courses and ease it into it using a well planned staged approach, and abort if it looks unachievable (but the proof out there all appear to indicate otherwise).
Now, that said, I don't wingsuit, yet (I plan to). And I don't plan to land a wingsuit in my lifetime. But aren't any of you wingsuiters also ski racers? You'll understand where I am coming from, if you take a ski racing course, a ski jumping course, and also see the YouTube videos above. Then take a small break from BASE jumping and wingsuiting to aggressively learn to ski race/ski jump, then later combine those skills for a wingsuit landing attempt. Alas, most wingsuiters aren't interested in learning ski jumping/racing, so therein lies the rub -- will take a specially talented or driven individual!
Perhaps I will be wrong. But the proof seem to indicate it should be possible and feasible to land a wingsuit safely without a parachute, at least using the ski slope method. Possibly with a similiar 'riskfactor' than a dangerous Evil Knieval style attempt. Maybe not, but I don't think anyone can really say it's not possible, given the prevailing video evidence that suggest there's risk-mitigated approach ideas that exists of doing it....
Perhaps it may take a professional wingsuiter with professional ski racing/jumping experience (or willing to learn aggressively), who also happens to be a BASE jumper, to start doing some virtial-slope GPS-measurement research, then gradually lower altitudes, with and without skiis. Plus also practice landing wingsuit on ski-jumps (which has already been practiced before), at faster-and-faster speeds at higher-and-higher heights, until it's finally done from the airplane, utilizing carefully planing. A sort of a staged approach, in a manner of speaking. Done incrementally, it might actually be much safer than land-based speed record attempts.
Then again, a death in this skydiving sport, does our sport bad, and that's why a lot of us are reluctant to entertain THIS idea. Some of us HATE this idea solely for this reason. And hate all reporters regardless. (It does not mean it's impossible or more unsafe than various world record attempts)
(This post was edited by mdrejhon on Sep 3, 2009, 8:50 PM)
reference: my prior comments including :..... it WILL eventually "be attempted and eventually will be "done"....... How many people have gone over Niagara falls in a barrel or with nothing and look at what height waterfalls the kayak guys are now doing. I have seen some really hard and fast landing falls from motorcyle jumps back from Evil Knieval's days on through today///// ( its just a matter of time, money, a the willingness for someone who is good enough and adventurous enough to believe they "can" do it , then gets the right physical training, mental preparation and also gets some very good planning and exact execution) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx SEE OUTSIDE MAGAZINE AUGUST (page 28)=plunge by kayaker from 186 foot straight down and impacting water below( surface tension broken by falling water) The man who attempted this from 182 feet off Niagara Falls back in 1990 died ! THIS guy DID IT with no injury from 186 ft 19 years later.
SO a wingsuit landing onto water WILL be attempeted and done,....and then a wing suit landing onto level land WILL be attempted and DONE. WHY????? I can not answer that ---only the indivduals who eventually do it can . I hope no one dies trying or gets really messed up trying it ,..but it WILL BE TRIED AND DONE .... THAT is just the nature of the way some men and women "ARE". I do not have to agree with the fact that they try something for me to understand that there is something that is worth the risk for them to make the attempt.
When the speed of sound was broken,...no one really knew if the aircraft would flutter and tear itself and the pilot apart during the transition from sub-sonic to supersonic flight ...( including the pilot) AND he failed several times right at the edge of the sound barrier and almost killed himself....Others did die in getting to "that" point in testing man's limits! BUT he went up again and tried,..until he succeeded. It wasn't a "routine" thing then.... and it was all theoretical and a learning environment "until" it happened. NOW it "is" not exactly rountine either but very accepted as doable,...(even though somewhat restricted to those who have the money to get there)
Lurch,.. We agree on everything you are saying and there is no reason a flight has to be more than a minute or so before an actual landing....
BUT I DO NOT want to come across as in any way encouraging anyone to attempt doing what I believe "can" be done...
However what I want or don't want is irrelevent to this thread and the eventual outcome. It WILL be attemped and DONE! The timing IS indeed critical and will require many many practice jumps by a talented flyer (with the visual perception and brain hand eye reactions of a McEnroe) at higher altitudes first with good telemetry data to establish the optimum glidepath and then some sort of lightweight radar altimeter device and a heads up display that would provide a visual glideslope to advise the flyer whether they are on the planned glideslope landing arc ( so that a small abort- landing-chute could be deployed in the next phase of practice jumps over a deep swoop pond onto which water is being sprayed to break the water's surface tension)---A light tiny water activated 4 or 5 breath scuba device for underwater might be a good idea too with a couple standby divers for flyer recovery. After all of that ,... a landing on earth could be attempted with some confidence or at least a better assessment of the risks and tolerances.
I sorta feel that a wingsuit that is airlocked is ALREADY a form of descending ram air parachute "wing" so even if a wingsuit "IS" landed;... is it really a "wingsuit" ? a person in a parachute? or a "Fabric structural wing" ?or fabric "hang-glider" ? with a person's body being substituted for an aircraft fuselage .... The definition of "whatever is what " begins to become blurred.....
I DO think it would be really cool to have some type of a lighter-weight wearable suit that would allow us to launch somewhat like a hangglider and then climb using thermals and maybe a little power generated from the suit's internal thin lightwieght lithium batteries and solar panel material, then swoop and flock together as we do now ( descending while the relative air turns a bladed fan generator to recharge the batteries and then we do the climb thing again and swoop and flock again covering perhaps 20 or 30 miles before returning to land either then with or without some small lightweight parachute device. THAT is where I believe we ARE going as creative beings and I believe THAT will be done within the next 50 years or less.... I wish I could be here to see that...
Today's fantasies are tomorrow's realities.
We'll "find" a way.
And isn't it somewhat arrogant for any of us to imply that we now have already discovered "every" potential force or technology that exists in the universe that could be related to lift/drag/gravity etc.... and that there is nothing left to discover that might easily allow us to do what I just said would be a really cool thing to do.......... (or even more).
What would someone have thought from 100 years ago to look into the sky today and see a space shuttle launch, a moon landing , a C5A flyover or 76 people flocking in the sky and then opening their parachutes to land softly on the ground////////
I am going to dream about all this tonight.... I hope Spot will too! I just read your blog Spot--- My thanks for your personal energy!
DSE (D 29060)
Sep 3, 2009, 9:22 PM
Post #64 of 215
This is something the youngsters don't *quite* get, Stoney....So many of the things we heard of as kids have not only happened, but happened larger than expected. Look at what has happened with the internet alone....I remember seeing my father's corporate computer back in the 70's; it was larger than my house in footprint. I do believe some sort of landing will occur as well. but why we're wasting SO MUCH TIME talking about it is meaningless. Its' not really related to skydiving, IMO. It's a stunt that may lead to something more. I doubt it will involve what most of us think of as "wingsuits."
I just read your blog Spot--- My thanks for your personal energy!
Always grateful to know someone has read that blather. Most of this group is mentioned in there from time to time. I'm very appreciative of this community. Scotty, Justin, BSR, Andreea...a number of you have really helped me cope with the challenges I've lately experienced.
Mark, all this what you place as example has little to nothing with the subject of landing the WS without parachute.
What would be the part of the body which will take first hit?! on the slope or not ?! What you think?! How you will control the body slide?! How you will prevent rolling or after first contact?! Do you have any idea of the speed you need to deal with?! Vertical speed is the last thing I am worried about, btw..
Guys, we have lack of span - period! Speed what jumper need to deal with is simply to high to control. Those who don't believe let take chance and fly the slowest and closest to one SOLID object to get the idea. All this theoretical brainstorming is fun but just please ask your self : What will be the first contact point on my body when I going to be flying to land my self?! head, chest, belly legs?! Start from there... OK
Would you say that a water landing with a modern wingsuit is not survivable? If vertical speed could be brought to 0 within 30' to 50' above the water, wouldn't there still be enough time to slow down some? As Lurch pointed out, at high speeds you just skip on the surface. I've done it too, and it was rough, but I lived. I've swan dived from 85' and from 40' with 100 lbs of gear on. Water can be hard, I know, but it's not like dirt. Sorry to be repetitive, but you haven't really addressed the water landing idea, which I think is the most likely option for it to happen.
I think it would be feasable to survive a wingsuit landing with current speeds. But much like the many motorcycle accidents and other uncontrolled crashes that many use as an example, the key factor would be luck. Not skill
On this subject, many people who talk about 'a true wingsuit landing without a parachute', yet then spend days coming up with contraptions and instalations that should assist in a succesfull landing. Doesnt sound much different than 'use an additional ram-air wing, which sits on your back, suspended by lines, as a brake when the ground comes to close..'
I agree that luck would be a factor, but not doing it right would be disaster that no amount of good luck would help. I've found that the better prepared I am, the luckier I am. As far as a lot of modifications, I don't think they are necessary. Some padding and chest protection, and possibly using different fabrics. A well funded effort, with state of the art gadgets, a crew of fliers to assist with training, and one guy that believes in it, and I think it could happen. Of course death is always an option.
Jup...so much like Jebs waterslide...it would be survivable mostly due to factors not related to the wingsuit. Only using the wingsuit as an aiming device...not the means for a controlled, repeatable and 'pure' wingsuit landing.
Powdered snow..airated water...etc..how many external factors and devices do you need for a wingsuit landing these days?
The first landing Luigi did on his tiny canopy was on a gravel-road, level (not a hill). No matrasses. No pillows. No Snow.
Anything less is something cool...but not a 100% true un-assisted wingsuit landing the way we all envision it..
I totally agree with you Spot,..it WOULD BE A STUNT! --not an actual wingsuit event and so that I could get a better visualization of what would be the look of such a stunt ONLY IF it was done "PERFECTLY" (or near perfectly) I decided to crunch some numbers based on a mile = 5,280ft and the acceleration of gravity =32ft/sec/per second in a vacumn and just about the same for our bodies in our atmosphere in a wingsuit with our arms and legs spead out, but not moving forward at all ...( so maybe 30ft/sec/persec.)
With respect to Robi's comment on vertical speed not being "THE" critical issue I understand what he is saying and we all should after watching those motorcyle crash videos ,...and yet I only "sorta disagree" UNLESS the stunt WAS performed PERFECT so that the vertical speed got down to 0 (ZERO) or maybe 5 mph just prior to touchdown.
Otherwise the vertical speed IS the instant killer of anyone trying the stunt!
My number crunching shows that if the vertical speed at touchdown is 20mph the impact "force" on the first place of touchdown ( assume the flyer's chest( skids or otherwise) would be the same as dropping that flyer from a 30 ft ( three story building) in that last 1 second before touchdown ---- ie...CERTAIN DEATH!
At 10mph upon touchdown, the "force" would be like dropping from a 15 foot foot high roof straight down onto your chest ( or skids-whatever) ---Again I believe an almost certain death! ( though it could take a little while)
at 5 mph upon touchdown the force would be like dropping from about 7 ft. ( an NBAA Player's height)straight down onto your chest -( and I would think THAT amount of force COULD BE ABSORBED by some sort of spring mounted skids and a honeycombed material inside a very tight one piece ecoskeleton around flyer's body....making the vertical force survivable FOR A MODERATE WEIGHT/WELL CONDITIONED FLYER... (YET STILL MUCH MORE THAN I ENCOUNTERED ON MY CHEST FROM ONLY 3 to 4 feet up off that helicopter skid back in 2007)..I was only maybe AT BEST 2 or 3mph when I hit the ground. ( fORCE=MASS X VELOCITY)
DONE PERFECTLY of course ,..the vertical speed would be near 0 ( ZERO) at touch down and the only thing the flyer would have to contend with is the forward speed
did I just say the "ONLY" THING??????? !!!!!!! THIS is where Robi's point comes to be most apparent!
At 60 mph in forward speed ( if the flyer can get to that low a speed in the flare) the flyer would cover 528 feet across the ground in that last 1 second and about 214 ft across the ground ( 2/3's the length of a football field in the last 1/2 second before their touchdown.... NOW THAT is moving..... and obviously if you double the forward speed the distance traveled at 120mph would be 1056 ft in the last 1 second and 528 in the last half second!
Soooo,.... the stunt would have to be almost PERFECT FROM A VERTICAL SPEED STANDPOINT ( zero to 5mph in verticl speed..... and at a forward speed somewhere down below maybe 80mph (or less ) for the landing to be both surviveable and "possiblv"controllable enough to avoid serious injury.
That means the flyer would have to be able to have enough strength to hold a flare while burning off forward speed and not dropping at more than 5 mph while holding that speed to get what I would call a potentially predictable survivable "STUNT".
Somebody IS going to try it and there ARE maybe people who can pull it off.....or maybe there is something new coming in technology or understanding of forces that will allow different numbers and predictions....
That's how I see it for now,....so I agree with Spot at this point... It is NOT a skdive/dropzone topic woth kicking around and yet by kicking such things around, we come to realize the awesome forces that lie just outside that "comfortable envelope" we now enjoy and we may perhaps spark someone's creativity to analyze and see things differently .
It "is" actually people who do that , who have most changed the world they live in.
So the topic and question was and is relevant ...despite the temptation for immediate dismissal of the possibility for "Perfection"
Damn me I AM WRONG !.... STUPID ME ! the distance travelled at 60 mph in the last 1 second would only be about 91 feet not the stupid number I posted,...... so at 120mph it would only be 180 ft... or 2/3 the length of a football field... I actualll see that as much more easily contollable....
Sorry to be wrong and I still might be... would someone with a better mind please check these numbers!
WOW! How's that half empty glass workin' out for you people?
There was a time in recent history that people laughed at those who believed we could acheive flight at all. Now we are all skydivers and we are blasting on people attempting to progress to the next level. They may very well die trying just as many many pilots and skydivers in the past have passed while developing technology that we take for granted today. We can put people on the moon and we have humans living in space for months at a time but you say that it is impossible to land a wingsuit? sad, sad, sad.
It will happen.
i truly believe the skis are key. watch the winter olympics, the ski jumpers are very flat and essentially tracking.
i wouldn't do it, but somebody will.
a couple of dvances in wingsuit technology and technique, will make it entirely possible.
To those that say it is a stupid idea...
... 50 years ago you would be saying the same thing about sport skydiving and would have been a whuffo.