Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wearable Aviation

Ever had a dream where you flew without a craft?  You felt free and liberated.  You could go anywhere.  Well, that's been the dream of humans since history began.  What if you could capture that feeling?  Well, today there are several who are trying with some technology you wear.

 There's an ex-airline pilot by the name of Yves Rossy.  He calls himself  'Jetman' and his technology comprises of a set of wings and mini-turbofan engines.  With that he flies like a bird.  When he puts on the wings and engines, his body become part of the whole flying craft.  Leaning his body up down left right, is part of how he controls the flight.  He is like a bird.

Yves Rossy on TED

Martin Jetpack

Remember the Jetpack?   It's technically called the Rocket Belt.  It's used in various public events such as the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.  It inspires the mind and causes us to think how wonderful such a flight could be.  You just strap it on and you fly up and around buildings above the tree tops.  WOW!  Unfortunately it only lasts for less than a minute.  It is indeed rocket technology.  Now, there's a company out there taking the idea of the Rocket Belt and redesigning it for longer flights.  It's called the Martin Jetack.  It seems to work like the Rocket Belt, but its bigger and does not use rockets.  Instead, it uses an engine that powers two ducted fans.  The design is impressive.  I particularly like the control fins way down low in the path of the ducked fans' thrust.  It's absolutely amazing.  You should really check out their website here and see their progress.  Especially check out the videos.  I really get inspired and a tingle up my spine when I see this thing fly.  How could you not?  Ok, yes, jetpacking is a dream that many have dreamed for a long, long time.  Watch the Rocketeer and it has reference to the time period people dreamed of this.  It has some really good actors in there, especially Jennifer Connelly.  But I digressed.  Yeah, this flying free is really cool.  Now an off shoot of this is a water jetpack called the Jetlev-Flyer.  It makes jetpacking a water sport.  It's quite an ingenious and fun application of the jetpack tech.  I takes the same configuration as the Rocket Belt.  I've also seen a video of an adaptation of it that takes the configuration similar to that of Iron Man.  It has main thruster on the feet and stabilizing thrusters on the arms.  Really Cool!

ITN News

Now let's go high, really high.  In fact, let's go out of this world high, literally.  The EVA Suit (extra vehicular activity suit) is now commonly used outside of the ISS (international space station).  The NASA EVA suits come with a jetpack just incase astronauts and cosmonauts get unattached to the ISS.  This gives them the ability to cruise around in orbit.  Astronauts have often described EVA suits as your own personal space craft.  You have water, heating, cooling, oxygen, air pressure, and toilet capabilities.  Hey, those guys are in those things for 8 hours at a time you got to put the stuff somewhere. These things are truly amazing.  They allow you to experience space as much as possible without dying.  But when did they first test these things?  If you think it was during Apollo, your wrong.  If you think it was during Gemini, your wrong.  If you think it was during Mercury, your wrong.  Nope, it was before all of them that these things were tested.  One of the most extreme tests was done at the edges of space in Project Excelsior.  No, it was not a transwarp drive test run, like trekkies would like to believe.  Instead it was a test of the EVA suits by means of a balloon to the height of almost 103,000 feet.  The individual had to jump off the balloon at that altitude and parachute down.  GULP!  That's a huge height.  Scardicats need not apply.   The man of the hour was Col. Joe Kittenger.  WOW!  Pilots often say, 'Why jump out of a perfectly good craft?'  For years Kittenger remained the highest parachute jump by a man.  Now, that record is being challenged, and Kittenger is helping with the project.  The Project is called Red Bull Stratos.

Look Out Below
Red Bull Stratos is an ambitious project to not only break records but to test a new EVA suit.  I think it might be a suit for commercial astronauts though I have not read anything to that effect, I just have a hunch.  Just think, you get up in the morning, got to work, put on a suit and a helmet and gloves, climb into this godola that's attached to a balloon that takes you over 100,000 feet from tierra firma.  You get up, unhook and JUMP!  Oh man!  I can feel it, but what kind of crazy person you have to be to do that?  If your such a crazy person, more power to ya.  Ok, so they found someone to do this jump and his name is Felix Baumgartner.  This is an impressive guy in his own right without this feat.  I think the big jump will take him to new heights.  I can only imagine that more people would want to experience such a jump and perhaps a new space tourism market will be born.  This is really mind boggling.  You see Earth far below.  You see the curvature of the planet, above you is the black sky of space, and there is barely any air around you at all.  Your space suit is what is keeping you alive with oxygen.  Good thing it had some facilities built in it, cause you going to use those when you see the view.  Amazing.  Absolutely, amazing.

Well, how to you like that?  From fun to extremely dangerous, we've looked at some of today's or tomorrow's wearable aviation.  What would you give to try one right now?  I would do it in a heartbeat.  The I'll be reminded that I'm scared of heights.  The notion of putting on something that makes you superhuman like a super hero is amazing.  To experience freedom of movement from a extremely personal view is awe inspiring.  To make dreams into reality is what this tech is all about.  You can do it, but you have to know science and math to do it as well as having big dreams.  Cheers.