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October 8, 2010 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Jeb Corliss wing-suit demo. [Via]
posted by homunculus (39 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
60 Minutes story on wingsuits: The Birdmen
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on October 8, 2010


This is a awe-inspiring way to invite death and I applaud this man.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:06 PM on October 8, 2010


I ... I want. I want this very much. What's the catch?
posted by fremen at 4:10 PM on October 8, 2010


60 Minutes story on wingsuits: The Birdmen

Sponsored by Viagra.

"Viagra. For when even the wing suit won't give you a hard on."

Just kidding. But the 60 Minutes story really did just serve me a Viagra ad.

God almighty, these wing suits look cool.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:11 PM on October 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Let's see Helen Keller top THAT!
posted by Casimir at 4:16 PM on October 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So how the heck does he land that thing? Face first?
posted by splice at 4:26 PM on October 8, 2010


I wanna fly!
posted by sandraregina at 4:34 PM on October 8, 2010


You just have to keep following the curvature of the earth, forever, splice. There is no landing.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:34 PM on October 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I ... I want. I want this very much. What's the catch?

Does "resulting in an ugly red smear on the landscape if you screw up" count as a "catch"?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:35 PM on October 8, 2010


This made me pee my pants a little.
posted by pjern at 4:36 PM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


And then he flies by a 500 foot Jesus, and he's all like, "Hey, Jesus, just falling to earth, like - you know, what's his name."
posted by Toekneesan at 4:37 PM on October 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So how the heck does he land that thing? Face first?

Parachute/Airfoil
posted by phrontist at 4:37 PM on October 8, 2010


I predict that within a few short years the US Army will have an elite team of wing-suit commandos that will serve absolutely no tactical purpose, but will be featured in every recruitment advertising effort. And some poor kids somewhere will buy it, join up, ask to be in the wing-suit program and all be utterly disappointed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:52 PM on October 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just literally cannot believe that at all. That is some seriously—no, listen to me now, I ain't playing around… that's some truly crazy-ass shit right there. That's some middle-finger-to-the-Fates kind-of shit right there. That's like, "I don't know, Reginald, I was thinking of starting a journalism school in Algeria," kind-of crazy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:56 PM on October 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


There are people working on landing a wing-suit, but I don't think anyone is very close. I think you're flying at 40+ mph ground track and falling quite quickly with no ability to do a full flare like a small airplane or glider. It's really not clear how you'd come to a vertical speed of zero with a slow enough ground speed to not kill yourself. Also unlike the rest of the phases of flight, landing involves contact with the ground and thus offers no opportunity for do-overs.
posted by Nelson at 5:01 PM on October 8, 2010


Clearly, Nelson, the answer is to land on top of a moving train.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:06 PM on October 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


wow, is there any greater RUSH in life in this best way to die? This would be a great way for Doctor asisted suicides and the Doctor cannot be blamed for causing the Patient a quick and easy way of entering the next world, the afterlife.
posted by tustinrick at 5:10 PM on October 8, 2010


X-Man.
posted by bwg at 5:24 PM on October 8, 2010


In the black wingsuit, he reminds me of the cassocks that the Jesuits used to wear. All he needs is rope at his waist, and it's Father Vonderhaar, freshmen Algebra!

(come to think of it, Ol' Vondie used to call us "squirrel" as an insult...)
posted by notsnot at 5:37 PM on October 8, 2010


"Hello, Is this wingsuits inc? I'd like to buy a wingsuit"
"OK. What size are you?"
"There are a few adjustments I'd like to have made though. Do you do Custom?"
"Sure."
"So, Could you install some adult depends?"
"Possible......"
"And a large, aerodynamically adjustable codpiece"
"What??"
"And an autoinjector of humanized recombinant equine gonadotropin"
"?????....."
"You see, my testes will need to grow 500% in order to fly one of your contraptions........yet I don't think ballsack-drag will aid in the maneuverability.........hello? hello?"
posted by lalochezia at 5:48 PM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


He's not flying. He's falling with style.
posted by SPrintF at 5:55 PM on October 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've gone paragliding off of a cliff before; this looks like the same idea but with a lot less wing surface. Mostly it's a really steep and fast dive right along the ground, with some ability to steer, right? I'd be willing to try it, but yeah, I'd worry about the narrow margin of error. When he goes down that slot canyon about halfway through the video, that's a moment when getting an angle a little bit wrong might smear him right across the cliff face.
posted by Forktine at 6:30 PM on October 8, 2010


There are people working on landing a wing-suit

Best ordered list evar.

posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:00 PM on October 8, 2010


Ok, I watch every wingsuit video I can get my hands on, and I have to say this is pretty much my limit. I did not enjoy the last half of that, because there was no place to deploy the chute. Between the trees and down the ravine? Any miscalculation and that man is dead.

I've previously really enjoyed footage of zooming over the landscape, but there's almost always been a little give, a little room for error.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:03 PM on October 8, 2010


(except that one where the guy hits the bridge)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:03 PM on October 8, 2010


Here's a nice comparison of glide ratios of various things. A wingsuit's ratio of 2.5:1 makes it much more like falling than flying. Let's say you could arrange to fall 8000' before landing, that'd let you travel about four lateral miles.

I really wonder how these guys plan their routes, particularly the bits where they skim over some treetops before the ground falls away below them. It seems like you're cutting it awful close.
posted by Nelson at 7:10 PM on October 8, 2010


Nelson, I was wondering about planning too. Topo maps or 3d rendering software, I would guess. Anyone know?
posted by zippy at 7:44 PM on October 8, 2010


They wear helmets so they have nothing to worry about.
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 PM on October 8, 2010


It's obviously dangerous, but for these trained experts, how dangerous are we talking about here? How often does somebody die doing this sort of thing? Does anyone know?
posted by ErWenn at 9:18 PM on October 8, 2010


Not to be ignored: Base jumping/wingsuit fatality list. When wingsuiting goes wrong.Wingsuit price list.

No mask? What about getting hit in the face by bugs flying at 100mph?

A couple of things I've wondered about: why he seems to fly near the contour of the mountain? Is it for the feeling of speed or for navigation? After googling, just answered my own question. It's called proximity flying.
posted by nickyskye at 9:42 PM on October 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Topo maps or 3d rendering software, I would guess.

I was thinking the same thing when I posted earlier. I don't understand how this works. Because, it seems to me that you're already dealing with far too many variables: air density, humidity, angles of approach, the jumper's weight, the wingsuit material, its wingspan, how they got dressed in their wingsuit on that particular morning… just all sorts of question marks. Judging from the jumper's distance to their ground shadow, I would surmise the tolerances of judgment are well within the jumper's control. It's just that the penalties for error are far, far more dire.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:04 PM on October 8, 2010


When wingsuiting goes wrong

From the narration in that video: "Dwayne hit the bridge at 120 miles per hour."

Yeah, that's the kind of narrow margin of error that bothers me. I think I'd be all over a wingsuit that had a much flatter (and slower) glide profile, where you'd have a lot more time to correct from minor mistakes and account for changing situations. Right now, this is more like riding a luge without the track.
posted by Forktine at 11:56 PM on October 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You might enjoy this previous nonsense as well. Or perhaps some underwater base jumping.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:04 AM on October 9, 2010


Transformers 3 filmed here in Chicago during the summer and there will apparently be a scene where several wingsuit-clad people glide around a bit before parachuting to the ground. So expect wingsuits, suffering the "Bay touch," to become a lot less cool.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 5:55 AM on October 9, 2010


When wingsuiting goes wrong

Part that touches earth stays with earth. Pity all the videos are censored.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:10 PM on October 9, 2010


X-Man.

BATMAN.
posted by The Whelk at 2:50 PM on October 9, 2010


It's apparently incredibly difficult to hold your arms and legs out like that for so long; we don't have the huge breastbone-keel muscles birds have.

Despite lots and lots of people saying it's impossible and/or insane, Corliss and others are trying to figure out how to land a wingsuit without a parachute (article I wrote about it).

My favorite quote was from someone on a skydiving forum: "Anyone can land a wingsuit without a parachute - once."
posted by gottabefunky at 3:09 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


we don't have the huge breastbone-keel muscles birds have.

Birds and angels.
posted by homunculus at 4:31 PM on October 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The wingsuit fatality list is sobering: the people that died had hundreds of parachute jumps and often dozens of BASE jumps behind them.

Don't try this at home, kids!
posted by lalochezia at 12:59 AM on October 10, 2010


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