The sport of wingsuiting is nothing new. A combination of base jumping/skydiving and hang gliding, wingsuiters use a special jumpsuit to glide across the air much the way a bird soars in the sky. Wingsuiters generally have a fabric suit as opposed to a full-on set of hardwings as can be seen on this pair of Gryphon Next Generation Parachute System, however.
The system, developed by the German SPELCO (Special Parachute and Logistics Consortium), appears to turn humans into full-fledged aircraft. The glider-style wingsuits have been crafted with the intent of providing a 5:1 ratio to the user. In other words, one can get 5 times as much horizontal distance as vertical, so during a freefall he can soar through the sky to a given destination; a 30,000-foot drop would allow for one to sail anywhere within 30 miles. Speeds are estimated at 60 mph. Sounds both awesome and terrifying.
The GNGPS provides a navigation system to help guide the flyer to his destination. SPELCO is also considering adding small engines to provide a greater range to the device. Engines would also allow flight to work in lower altitude settings.
Like all other great toys, a suit like this will likely reside solely in the military for the forseeable future. However, one day our children or grandchildren might just be able to put something like this on their Christmas list.
Wired via Dvice