Monday, March 07, 2011
Stories of human flight have persisted for millennia. From Icarus’ brush with the sun, to DaVinci’s thoughts of eyes turned skyward watching the birds. Man has managed to fly for more than a century now, but it is only during the past decade of wingsuit development that we have been able to shed most of the mechanical aids and begin to glide with a minimum of help. Of course, so far we’re only able to do so with a minimal amount of glide.
The evolution of wingsuit flying, beginning with the extended free fall of a parachutist, has now reached the point where glide ratios of 2.5:1 (which means that it can glide 2.5 feet forward for every foot it descends) are possible. This doesn’t allow wingsuit fliers to travel very far or stay aloft more than a handful of minutes, but they are starting to achieve better control and are beginning to stretch their flights out farther and farther.
For anybody who has had dreams of flying through the clouds, this video gives us an actual glimpse of what it is like. Filmed in California, Florida, Nevada and Puerto Rico, the six-minute clip gives a look at some wingsuit formation flying and the simple joy of human flight.
via Wired Mag