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gottabefunky

Article on landing wingsuit w/o parachute

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Ive always been suprised the wings havent progressed to something more rigid/semi rigid.



Everything old is new again.

Clem Sohn used rigid struts on fabric wings in the 1930s. Leo Valentin, in the 1950s, used a fully rigid design - sort of like what Yves Rossey does now. Rudolf Boehlen, also in the 1950s, used a cloth wing with rigid struts - and the wing was so large that he couldn't stand up on the ground with it.

They were seriously dangerous at a time when skydiving was way more dangerous than it is now. These approaches didn't work then, not sure why it would work now, even with space age polymer materials and all that crap. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.

Part of the problem is the human body. Drag (strain on the arms) is going to increase as size of the airfoil increases. At some point, you are talking about a wing so large that would be impossible for a human to hold open on his own. So then you'd need rigid struts. Could you build a rigid wing with struts that would allow someone to safely land? Sure - we call them hanggliders. I'm sure someone could come up with a "wearable" hangglider, which would be neat, but it wouldn't look anything like a modern wingsuit - even the fat wings like the Xbird and Stealth2... It would look like, well, a wearable hangglider. I'm sure it would be a blast to jump, but I ain't going first on that one. (By the way, Valentin died when he broke his wing leaving the aircraft - it put him into an uncontrollable spiral. With great wings comes great responsibility.)

As another aside, when our pal Giselle drew up her sketch of her "theoretical" wingsuit, I laughed because Boehlen had that design down in the early 50s. Hopefully her first test pilot will do better than he did.

If you care to see pics of these old suits, I can email them (they are too large to attach). But you should check out the book "Birdmen, Batmen, and Skyflyers: Wingsuits and the Pioneers Who Flew in Them, Fell in Them, and Perfected Them" by Michael Abrams. A good read, if a little historically off in some of the less important details.

My bet on the approach that will allow one of us to land a wingsuit? It's going to be something like Visa Parviainen's rocket propelled thingamajobbers. (If you can do level flight, you can land... in theory.)
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Its not the time for trying to land a wingsuit yet.

Wingsuit still too small and fast for it, wait a few years when it get bigger with better glide ratio, lower sink rate and less speed.

If someone try to land a X-bird, Stealth or Fusion the person will die or end up with seriously injuries, He/She can make it once, but most probably he/She will die in following attempts.

The time now is to work on the sink rate of wingsuits, not much on glide ratio..

Glide ratio will increase together with lowering the sink rate.

Have fun landing with a parachute by now, otherwise you will die and not see a wingsuit landing properly in the future!
Lauren Martins - www.youtube.com/user/gisellemartins20

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in reply to "Can you help me better understand what this "spar" is that you are referring to?"
..........................................

A spar is generally an internal load carrying component of a wing.
In metal aircraft it often takes the form of a built-up box or extruded tube which extends for the full wingspan.
In early aircraft you can see the spar(s) and accompanying ribs through their fabric wings.
Many aircraft have more than one spar to help spread the load around more than one component.

Current fabric wingsuits rely heavily on your arms and shoulders to do the load carrying from the wings to your body.
This has its limits as your arms /shoulders are easily fatigued druring normal flight. We are lucky wingsuit flights are generally very brief.
As flights get longer and wings get bigger the loads on the arms increases hence the need for some help from a load carrying spar.
If the wings get more efficient and create more lift the need for a spar is even greater.

I've been working on a flexible spar that will fit into just about any fabric wingsuit.
The natural progression of my idea is to eventually make a completely non-fabric wingsuit.

All the tests (of non-fabric wings) so far show hugely increased wing efficiencies calling for a good spar to carry the extra flight loads.

Now it looks like the Russians might beat every-one to a wingsuit landing.:D

edited to add diagram of spars and ribs.
Pretty basic stuff but adapting it all to a wingsuit design that remains flexible and useable equals heaps of design fun.

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A spar is generally an internal load carrying component of a wing.



Great explaination and pic!

What are the Russians doing?

Will the rigid wingsuit you are referring to look something like this:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/12/look-out-below-wingsuits-pushed-for-airbone-assaults/

Or this one with rockets:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0E6Yh_mSx8

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Current fabric wingsuits rely heavily on your arms and shoulders to do the load carrying from the wings to your body.



No matter how many spars you add to a wing, even if you make that wing out of solid titanium or some other magic pixie material... the load will STILL be carried to the body through your shoulders.
www.WingsuitPhotos.com

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in reply to "Will the rigid wingsuit you are referring to look something like this:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/12/look-out-below-wingsuits-pushed-for-airbone-assaults/

Or this one with rockets:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0E6Yh_mSx8 "
..............................................


Here's one of my dream machines.

Wings back to swoop and motor , swings forward for low speed flight/flare.

By the way its not rigid ,it is distortable , flexible, twistable, and powerful.
The full size wings generate a LOT of lift .
Even the 1/3 scale testers are powerful lifting devices.

For any worries about efficient wings ripping out shoulders with increased flight loads an internal hinge box takes the loads generated by the wings through the spars spreading it over the chest/torso plates (with careful attention to the alignment of the centres of lift and gravity) and 'viola' succeeds in holding up the pilot, arms and all in the magic of flight .

And yes the odd titanium component especially around the hinges would come in handy.
Now , where to put the auxiliary fuel tanks and oxygen? :D


As to what the Russians are doing?
As usual we will usually only know if they tell us.

merry xmas:ph34r:

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in reply to "Not enough? How about collapsable carbon kevlar(or similar) wings. They would probably need to be made from long thin 1-2" slats that were collapsable like an accordian(picture one of those chinese fans that fold up).
...................................................................


I've been thinking about your chinese fan idea as it could have some application on one of my designs where the arm-wings join the body.
With my swing-wing idea there are some issues with the wing retracting into the upper part of the torso wing. Chinese fan type venetian blind folding might solve the prob. I'll let you know if it works.
For now I'm getting a bit bogged down in structural component design and testing.:S


Here's just some more high performance wingsuit ideas and possibilities on the road to a landable wingsuit.

The flex-torso design study (demo model pictured in attachment 1) is an investigation of the possibilities of a flexible torso wing .
The general idea is to try and make the torso wing enclosing the torso , legs and rig, as efficient as possible by making its shape close to the best aerofoil shape . ( any ideas on best aerofoil profiles welcome?)
The pilots arms would be free to move round but in least drag flight mode would lie alongside the torso wing in channels provided.
The 'Aero-helm' design makes up a large part of the leading edge.

The design issues as I see them are
* maintaining sufficient body movement to keep flight controls intuitive
* keeping full access to handles.
*finalising the 'aero-helm' design
* rig integration.
* getting the thing in a plane (gotta luv tailgate aircraft)

My feeling is that this flex-torso-wing idea would make a good performing wingsuit even without arm wings, working out at about 15 sq.ft for a 180lb , 6 footer giving 12 lbs /sq.ft.
Not easily landable perhaps:$, but add a couple of 5sq.ft arm wings and the loading goes down to 7.2lbs /sq.ft which is approaching doable.

I'm calling this torso-wing design a "SuperTracker".


The second diagram shows a 1/3 scale swingwing test .
It was built mainly to get an idea of the force required to manoeuvre the swingwing into different positions as well as getting an idea about how it would fly in different swing settings.
(The 1/3 scale tester does not have the same wing shape as the full size wings. but uses a similar swing design)
Turns out it is easy to swing forwards and back and holds its position without excessive blow back force at least at 100km/hr. (I couldn't convince my gf to go any faster:D)
Surprise surprise it also flies nice and smooth in the various swing positions.

The main issue emerging on the full size swingwing is handling the incredible lift.(once again no faster than 100km/hr so far)
I'm still trying to make it strong and light enough where the arm-wing joins the torso pivot box. Building a strong enough test rig for the back of a truck is also looking like an unfun job.


Landable wingsuit main components as envisaged so far.
Arm wings
* controls (swing and warping )
* spars
* hinges/pivot boxes
* skinning

Chest/torso plates
* incorporating main wing pivot box
* torso protection /cushioning

Torso wing
* incorporating 'aero-helm'
* more internal cushioning protection
* trailing edge leg/foot controls
* rig integration
* skid/ skid mount integration

Skids/ rollers / shock absorbers
I'm trying to integrate the forward section of the skid housing with the main pivot boxes .

As for the actual flying ..... Anyone used to driving/riding fast will have no problem with the approach and landing speeds.

I envisage no need for a mad spiralling swoop.
More like a bit of a steep approach (eg 45degrees) to keep the speed up followed by level out , leading to flare etc etc.( as previously discussed).

So the plan is --Flight test Torso-wing first ,then add small test wings. then full size wings. If it all checks out , then add the skids in preparation fro a landing attempt.
I'm planning to fly it ,test it and land it myself so it will have to be easy to fly:D

If I can do this whats stopping the rest of you?


Happy New Year.

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"I'm planning to fly it ,test it and land it myself so it will have to be easy to fly"

Wow. You are a true visionary sir!

I would recommend obtaining the appropriate sensors to data log every aspect of the landing angle and speed before actually trying to land it. Then create a mock situation where you act as if 5000ft is "ground" and you start your "landing" at 5500ft and record horizontal speed, vertical speed, glide angle, lift, etc to see if its realistic. A video guy is a must. Better yet someone in a stationary non-descending object such as a ballon(cheaper than helicopter to rent im guessing?) to datalog with video, radar gun, range finder. On second thought might need 2 ballons one at 5500, one at 5000.

I guess the point is its your life, there is no expense to great. You might could get funding from red bull, monster, etc.

BTW, whats your avatar pic, its hard to make it out?

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in reply to "Wow. You are a true visionary sir!

I would recommend obtaining the appropriate sensors to data log every aspect of the landing angle and speed before actually trying to land it. Then create a mock situation where you act as if 5000ft is "ground" and you start your "landing" at 5500ft and record horizontal speed, vertical speed, glide angle, lift, etc to see if its realistic. A video guy is a must. Better yet someone in a stationary non-descending object such as a ballon(cheaper than helicopter to rent im guessing?) to datalog with video, radar gun, range finder. On second thought might need 2 ballons one at 5500, one at 5000.

I guess the point is its your life, there is no expense to great. You might could get funding from red bull, monster, etc.

BTW, whats your avatar pic, its hard to make it out? "

..................................................

Nice recommendations .
I like the idea of a second balloon to fly-by and test the level out and flare.
Even on a normal skydive the level-out and flare could be tested via GPS down to 2000'.
Using base gear and a balloon it could then be tested down to say 500'.
It's enlightening experiencing the air density changes on a wingsuit base jump. As you get lower your descent rate decreases very noticeably.
The new HUD's could be good to provide instant feedback.

As you've outlined there's a cautious , considerate approach possible to this challenge.
One baby step at a time to do this properly and make it repeatable and something fun to do .


I've seen enough base jumping videos of people who don't truly value their lives " going low for their Go-Pro".
I'm hoping that whoever does manage to land a wingsuit does it with a view to advancing our sport not just showing off doing stunts and big-noting themselves.
I can see a possible future where any wingsuiter can learn to fly and land high performance wingsuits without the feeling of having to cheat death to do so.

The jpg attachments are of some things I find recently insprirational.
*The F-4 Phantom flew like a dog at slow speed until designers /builders put leading edge slats and decent slotted flaps on it.
Incorporating the same type of slats into the l.e's of the wingsuit arm wings will further improve their slow speed and flaring abilities.
These l.e.slats can be made to pop-out automatically , manually or can even be built into the wings permanently extended.

*The BV246 was a WW2 German gliding bomb with a glide ration of 25:1 . aspect ratioof 25.5:1 and wings of steel bars and cast concrete.
It had the incredible wing loading of 102 lbs/sq.ft but could glide 130miles(209km) when released from an altitude of 34450 ft.(10,500m)

Makes me wonder how far a high-performance wingsuit could glide from 20,000.
Future wingsuiters might have 100mile flights to look forward to on the weekend.


As far as funding goes , some runs on the board will help . Hoping to get the flex torso wing built and full-size testing started within a couple of months.
We'll see what happens.
:)

(ps my avatar is a solarised shot of one of my early swing-wing models.)

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