How would the world change like if humans gained the power of superman-like flight?
Let’s define some parameters (these are general, and I’m not going to endlessly divide/nitpick them - if you can’t stand the hypothetical, stay out of the… something):
[li]Humans can fly in the same sort of general method of Superman/Neo[/li][li]Humans are still just as vulnerable to harm as before - no other abilities are enhanced.[/li][li]The ability to fly kicks in at age 10 (so there’s no risk of babies and toddlers disappearing under their own steam)[/li][li]It’s not effortless - flying is approximately as exhausting/energy-demanding as running, but fortunately there’s a speed factor gain of 10 (so if you’re fit enough to run comfortably at 5mph for an hour, you can fly comfortably at 50mph for an hour)[/li][/ul]
People that think they can run, when they get a stitch can stop. Get a stitch at 5000 feet and you’ve got problems.
Commuter airports will close down, or organise their facilities to cater for joggging commuters.
Flying people on Europe will invent an aerial bicycle to make short journeys (up to 200 miles) more efficient. People in the USA will still drive on the ground, because it’s their right to use the roads.
Peak hour traffic with cars full of one person would be a thing of the past, public transport in cities and surrounding suburbs would be wound back, as would taxis.
A new industry of couriers and storage places would bob up so when people are going on holidays they could have their luggage couriered to the airport the night before then fly there themselves. Ditto with shopping, delivery services would cater to people who fly to the shops and buy more than they can carry to fly home with.
Police and health services would struggle in how to deal with the people flying home drunk from the pub crashing into each other and the ground. New laws introduced about FUI.
New clothing lines introduced along the lines of cycling gear designed to be aerodynamic.
There would still be fat lazy MOFO’s who wouldn’t be interested in anything resembling effort or physical exertion.
Is there an upper-limit to how high a person can fly? With a spacesuit on could they leave the atmosphere?
I’m aware of orbital mechanics and getting something to stay up there requires speed as well as altitude but I wonder could it help the space industry?
Long-haul and freight-carrying flights remain a valid industry but the personal light aircraft industry dies out.
There will be a plethora of rules and regulations put into place once some comedian gets themselves sucked into a jet engine. People will be required to wear transponders, register their flight plans and use designated air-lanes for any sort of proper distance travel, which will take away much of the fun of the thing.
Maintaining security, privacy and international borders just got a lot harder.
Good point - at the moment, human-powered heavier than air flight is just on the fringe of being possible - but (ignoring a bunch of variables) the flying human is a more efficient propulsion unit for such a thing, so that would work.
Even wingsuits would be quite useful - you just ascend at 45 degrees, then glide back down using the wingsuit, with a little bit of flying again on the landing approach.
Untrue. You need orbital velocity to stay in free-fall (unpowered) - if you’re positing the ability to maintain 50mph with no need to react against anything, then you can stay as high as you like for as long as you like, or at least as long as your life-support holds out. Bonus: Not having a shit-ton of kinetic energy to burn off, you have much less in the way of re-entry problems (not quite none, because you still have a load of potential energy at that height, even more than old what’s-his-face who did the parachute jump a few months back.
Understood. But presuming that only an ultra-marathon standard athlete would be making the attempt in the first place, they can stay up there as long as their endurance holds out (with, if they’re smart, enough to descend under control to where they can deploy a wing or a 'chute). The point is that if you can maintain “power” you don’t need to worry about orbital velocity, which applies only to an unpowered trajectory.