This is simply awesome. The dude jumps out of a plane over England at 30,000 feet with some comedy wings strapped to his back, and during his descent he ‘flies’ at 220 mph, covering 22 miles in just 10 minutes across the sea to France, where he deploys his parachute and descends safely to earth.
I saw something similar to this (in concept) where the ‘wings’ were nothing more than webbing between the legs and from the arms to the torso, allowing the skydiver to build up quite a respectable lateral speed. IIRC, the guy who invented it (the thing I saw) was working towards being able to land without a parachute, but he was killed in a rock-climbing accident).
I haven’t seen this fixed wing method before. I’ve only been aware of the parachutist with underarm webbing (leg webbing being optional, iircc), which is a similar-ish gliding theory – they tend to jump from even higher, though, using oxygen because of the thin air.
Nothing to lose, I’d imagine, as long as you can eject the wings in an emergency, have the parachute (and back up) and something to keep you warm and afloat should you take a dip in the channel . . . Really nice, beautiful actually!
I remember that too, Mangetout - he was saying that he ‘buzzed’ an alpine restaurant terrace on his way down. All these people were sitting there eating when suddenly this guy flew right over their heads (I believe he could go up momentarily and stall before swooping back down again). He also claimed to have left a plane and re-entered it after all the other skydivers had exited.
It’s on page 54 of the July 2003 Popular Science. Air inlets inflate the wing pockets creating an airfoil shape. The suits do not allow the diver to gain or maintain altitude, but they slow terminal velocity from 120 mph to a mere 35 mph while the lateral speed can be in excess of 80 mph. Still too fast to hit the ground, but they are working on better designs to allow landing without a chute.
Yes, ouch (me too) but 35 mph doesn’t seem like a fatal speed at which to hit a water surface (although the combination of that and the lateral 80mph might make it quite nasty). It sounds just about suvivable though, doesn’t it? Maybe with some sort of device to enable him to plane over the water surface…
Recalling my O-level physics, 80mph laterally and 35mph vertically gives us a vector of er… er… er… 87mph. Which is not all that far removed from human terminal velocity (110mph IIRC). So he’d hit the water slightly slower than if he’d have fallen from a plane unaided.
However, if, as you say, he could turn himself into a bouncing bomb, or he could stall himself somehow, he’d maybe be able to survive, albeit rather bruised.
However, it’s moot really, since the poor chap’s dead anyway.