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The Dream Of Flight
August 17, 2011 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Breathtaking first-person-view wingsuit flights in the Swiss Alps and around Europe. Jetman (with a turbine-powered strap-on wing) flies the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, NASA continues work on the Puffin: an electric VTOL "personal air vehicle".

Jetman and wingsuits previously on the blue.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. That's crazy. Awesome. The footage is brilliant. (And that suit is hilarious!) I'm so, so envious...
posted by bitteschoen at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2011


What's the smoke on the ankle for?
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:51 AM on August 17, 2011


Wingsuits look like so much fun, more dangerous than i'll ever be willing to try, but fun nonetheless.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:52 AM on August 17, 2011


The best part about Puffin will be an end, finally, to both the "lol where's my jetpack" and "lol where's my flying car" jokes.
posted by DU at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2011


I love these vids, but those helmets make me think of Wile E. Coyote's umbrella...
posted by the painkiller at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2011


Still love this one (Melissa Andrezjewski on Baffin Island) the best.
posted by googly at 10:01 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, crazy awesome. No question at all.

Also, extremely irritating in terms of oneupmanship!
What was the point of any of my own Grand Canyon vacation photos!!!...)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:01 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


googly: "Still love this one (Melissa Andrezjewski on Baffin Island) the best"

This video is one of the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. Because it shows the what no other human flight video that I've seen shows, which is the transition between known (here I am, standing on this ledge) to unknown (here I am thinking I'm flying like a bird), with the guy pussyfooting on the ledge looking for the best way to throw himself in the abyss. Awesome.
posted by falameufilho at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2011


Thanks for giving me an adrenaline rush sitting in my chair
posted by manny_calavera at 10:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best part about Puffin will be an end, finally, to both the "lol where's my jetpack" and "lol where's my flying car" jokes.

Not really. It's neither a wearable backpack nor is it large enough to carry four people. It's basically a very small airplane with VTOL capability. Sort of like a BD-5 that you stand up in. The BD-5 was designed in the 70s, and can fly a longer distance, faster than the Puffin's projected numbers.

However, the VTOL capability is the whole point. The Puffin doesn't need a runway like a traditional airplane, and it has a much smaller footprint than a helicopter.

The real obstacle that we're still trying to overcome is an energy source that's dense enough to provide decent range, but not so heavy the vehicle can't lift itself. The Puffin video mentions this toward the end.

Advances in strong, lightweight materials will also help aviation tremendously. The enemy of flight is weight.

Having written all that, I'm not trying to poo-poo the effort. Just pointing out some of the obstacles we have yet to overcome.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:37 AM on August 17, 2011


My hobby suddenly seems so boring.
posted by scottatdrake at 10:56 AM on August 17, 2011


What's the smoke on the ankle for?

Points to the hole in the ground when it all goes wrong.
posted by eriko at 11:23 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Puffin looks cool, but wow... I don't know if I could ever get over the feeling of Oh my GOD there are these crazy spinning rotors mere inches from my head!
posted by xedrik at 1:04 PM on August 17, 2011


Awesome.
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on August 17, 2011


Metafilter: a Turbine-powered strap-on
posted by ShutterBun at 3:55 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know what the people at the overlook were thinking when those guys zoomed past. Crazy.
posted by dabug at 5:28 PM on August 17, 2011


Experience Zero Gravity
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on September 17, 2011


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