Up in the air, junior birdmen
June 6, 2006 11:24 AM   Subscribe

It's a bird, it's a plane!, no it's the Special Forces using strap-on stealth wings to zoom silently into battle. We've all fantasized about jet packs, but being dropped from a plane with wings on your back is a silent way to travel great distances before opening a parachute for landing, just like daredevil Felix Baumgartner, who soared across the English Channel. Who wants to go first?
posted by twsf (22 comments total)
What if we add jet packs to these? Also how long before I can find these units in an RTS.
posted by sourbrew at 12:03 PM on June 6, 2006

Well, so much for top-secret. Way to aid the terrorists, twsf!
posted by squirrel at 12:03 PM on June 6, 2006

Let us not forget on this day, other special force units that dropped in "silently."

Interesting technology; I am curious how your neck wouldn't sanp from the forces of 200+ miles per hour.
posted by fluffycreature at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2006

That first picture reminded me of Captian Power's Major Hawk Masterson.
posted by samsara at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2006

squirrel: I know, why do I hate America...?
posted by twsf at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2006

Elite special forces troops being dropped behind enemy lines on covert missions are to ditch their traditional parachutes in favour of strap-on stealth wings.

Part of the idea of covert use of Special Forces is deniability. When maybe one or two nations at most are using bloody great big carbon-fibre wings to insert covert forces it's going to be a bit tough to deny you had troops in the area when it's being paraded on TV the next week.
posted by longbaugh at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2006

Reminded me of this.
posted by Mcable at 12:23 PM on June 6, 2006

Should make HAHO’s and HALO’s a lot more fun....where can I get one?

/reminded me of Nick Fury
posted by Smedleyman at 12:27 PM on June 6, 2006

Sounds like we have our next xTreme Sport!

Fitted with oxygen supply, stabilisation and navigation aides,

Combined with:

although concealing the 6ft wings after landing could prove harder than burying a traditional parachute.

You know how Bad People use our unexploded ordinance to make IEDs and the like? What are the odds that eventually these will be used to build poor-mans UAVs and Drones?

All that being said; i really wanna try one.
posted by quin at 12:56 PM on June 6, 2006

Flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.

Run, Dorothy, run.
posted by three blind mice at 12:59 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

We'll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours training and equipping each one of these guys, only to see them shot out of the sky like ducks by ragged towelheads firing WWI vintage rifles.
posted by Faze at 1:21 PM on June 6, 2006

Going to have to lead the target somewhat if it's travelling at 200+mph Faze.
posted by longbaugh at 1:30 PM on June 6, 2006

I'm reminded of "Ace" from the Centurions.
posted by AccordionGuy at 1:31 PM on June 6, 2006

Yeah, sexy /= practical, but the mission specifics would drive the tactical solution. And it’d be nice to have the option of not having your arms worn out from fighting the wind down to the ground. Looks like this would take you to the deck faster as well.

The only real down side I can see, with all this cult of secrecy stuff, is that SOF missions often rely on conventional combat power, particularly for insertion (which is a pain in the ass) granted - more often for extraction, but that’s a moot point with these things, since you figure any decent commander isn’t going to blow a lot of these things on a lower priority or inappropriate mission.
(Old joke on “assume”)

So, you’re relieved a bit of insertion headaches, but if it’s so super-secret your own conventional forces don’t know about it, there’s no RF exchange or cross briefing, etc. it’s going to be counterproductive.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:11 PM on June 6, 2006

Mcable, that was heartbreaking! ack.

That said, I would SO love one of of those new, improved hi-tech ESG, Batman stealth wing contraptions. wow.
posted by nickyskye at 2:14 PM on June 6, 2006

Mcable, that Kircher site linked me to the story of Joe Kittinger and his record-breaking freefall from what, for all intents and purposes, can only be called space at a height of 31,333m (making him, some say, the pioneer before Yuri Gagarin, who encapsuled in Vostok 1 reached 32,770m).
posted by linux at 2:49 PM on June 6, 2006

I posted about Kittinger back in March.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2006

Gagarin did an orbit.
posted by Chuckles at 4:21 PM on June 6, 2006

making him, some say, the pioneer before Yuri Gagarin

They were clearly both pioneers (well, their engineers and physicists were) but IMHO Vostok orbiting the planet puts it a fair way ahead of Excelsior.

(Useless trivia I just picked up from Wikipedia: at the time of these crazy-awesome-scary pioneering tests neither Gagarin in Vostok or Kittinger in Excelsior 3 counted as a space flight, as a technicality of the 'rules' of space-flight certification required that the pilot land with the vehicle. So the Russians lied.)
posted by The Monkey at 4:25 PM on June 6, 2006

Yuri Gagarin, who encapsuled in Vostok 1 reached 32,770m

You're off by an order of magnitude. Apogee on Vostok 1 was 315km, not 33km.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:41 PM on June 6, 2006

Up in the air upside down anyway, that's the way I learned the song...

When I was younger, heights and jumping and such seemed exciting. Now I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at the videos (kirkaracha's post, too). What's up with that?

Remember Jet Jackson, The Flying Commando? I thought he was cool.

Interesting stuff, even if it does make me queasy.
posted by taosbat at 7:28 PM on June 6, 2006

linux: don't know what happened with the link. it should be this:


Do watch the video to its conclusion.
posted by Mcable at 5:33 AM on June 7, 2006

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