Friday, January 08, 2010

"dive suits that resemble a flying squirrel"

This will probably be the garb of future skydivers. Designers the world over are in a race to develop the first wingsuit, special dive suits that resemble a flying squirrel costume, using which a person can land safely without the aid of a parachute.

Fabric panels between the arms and legs will allow divers to whiz around in a freefall.

Wingsuits are jumpsuits with fabric panels between the arms and legs that enable skydivers to zoom around in freefall. By angling the self-inflating, rigid fabric panels, pilots can turn, dive, or rocket forward. However, the landing technique is still to be made perfect since they still use parachutes.

Jean Potvin, a physics professor at St. Louis University in Missouri is quoted to have said:

It’s something that’s doable, but it’s ... fraught with danger

The use the technique of doubling the body surface area, slowing the descent rate to about 30 miles (50 kilometers) an hour, to be able to almost glide like a bird. Whenever they are likely to be ready they sure will become the rage with skydivers.

Source: National Geographic

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