This article is the product of a scientific journalism school that took place at MIPT on 25-30 November 2010
Author: Alexandra Anisimova, MIPT student
At the seminar "Development and Practical Application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles", held recently at the Faculty of Aerodynamics and Flight Engineering at MIPT, 5th year student Roman Anisovich presented a project for the new generation individual flying device. This is not a small Cessna-type aircraft, and not even a variation on the frame with a propeller. The new aircraft is more like a man's bat-suit, reports Informnauka.
The project is based on the idea of a wingsuit which is widely used in parachuting. Wingsuitis a jumpsuit with membranes sewn under the arms and between the legs. It weighs no more than an ordinary thick jacket and does not restrict the movements of the athlete.
After leaving the plane, the parachutist spreads his arms and legs, stretching the membranes, and sails through the air. A significant increase in the area decreases vertical speed and helps to extend the time of free fall from 60 seconds to 2-5 minutes. Unfortunately, the wingsuit does not provide for the possibility of landing. It does not replace the parachute, but only postpones the time of its opening.
The key differences of the flying apparatus from the wingsuit will be a larger area of membranes, increased stability and, as a consequence, a safe landing without a parachute.
The landing is likely to be organized on a "cushion" that is used when jumping from the domes of the "wing" type. To perform the "cushion," the parachutist first completely lets go, and then in sync pulls down both brakes (fabric handles at the ends of lines of controls). As a result, the forward movement of the dome noticeably slows down. Parachutist "overtakes" the dome, changing its angle of attack. Due to this the "wing" gets an extra lift, and the athlete can gently land on his feet.
To achieve a similar effect, the pilot of the costume will have to significantly increase the angle of attack just before landing. In the initial stages of the trials, which are planned to take place over water, the scientists allow the possibility of landing on the stomach and are going to investigate the applicability of the winged costume that allows for flight at a short distance from the water.
Currently, the development of a new flying device, carried out by Roman Anisovichat the Faculty of Aerospace and Flight Engineering under the guidance of Alexander Litvinenko and Vasiliy Tuntsev, is in the computer modeling stage. The possibility of safe landing is still being studied, but this feature is already getting interest from the military, because such a suit could be used by paratroopers.
Paratrooper parachute is an inconvenient bag weighing about 15 kilograms. It guarantees a relatively soft landing, but this is where its benefits end. Open dome makes the soldier a moving target in the air and steals precious seconds after landing. In light of this, a suit that does not limit the freedom of movement seems especially relevant. It will provide greater maneuverability for paratroopers in the sky, mobility on earth and largely solve the security issues.
However, until the moment when the free fall will turn into a free flight, much needs to be done. Currently the developers are calculating the optimal parameters of the suit. Afterwards, a full-size model of the device for testing in the aerodynamic wind tunnel will be constructed. And only after analyzing the results of the experiment the first real flight will take place.
The main areas in which work will take place in the near future are the definition of drag and calculation of acceptable stability of the device. In addition, the question of control remains unresolved: how will the pilot control the speed, altitude, angle of attack?
It is difficult to set the date of the first flight. But the developers are confident that people will fly; when - depends on personnel issues. First, it is necessary to attract sponsors who will fund the creation and testing of full-scale model of the device. Second, in the foreseeable future a volunteer ready to become the first pilot "Batman costume" will be needed.
Source of information:
Roman Anisovich "Development of a New Generation Wingsuit." Paper presented at the "Development and Practical Application of unmanned aerial vehicles" seminar at MIPT.