June 07, 2006 | Post Archive
From waxen wings to pedaled flyers, humans have been obsessed with flight for centuries. Most of us have flying dreams where we soar above our daily lives, and maybe some of you have had dreams of flying in your underwear. Did all the other kids laugh at you? How embarrassing.
For members of the world’s elite military forces, the dream of flying could come true very soon. The German company ESG has developed a Batman-like personal flight system to replace the steerable parachutes common to paratroopers today. ESG’s carbon-fiber mono-wing includes life support for high-altitude flight, the ability to carry over 200 pounds of artillery and equipment, computer guidance and a parachute.
If that doesn’t sound sweet enough, ESG also plans to add two small turbojet engines that will run off of in-wing fuel tanks. The 6-foot wings’ propulsion system will allow its operators to fly over 100 miles virtually imperceptible to radar and nearly 100 percent silent. The technology presents paratroopers with the distinct opportunity to discreetly fly into hostile territory and keep planes and pilots safely at a distance.
According the Daily Mail, Felix Baumgartner of Austria tested the flight system three years ago when he flew over the English Channel. He launched from a carrier plane 30,000 ft over Dover and cruised at 220 mph, eventually landing in the tourist-ridden beach town of Calais, France. Eat your heart out, Batman.
And now for the question on everyone’s minds: When can I get one?