My nearest and dearest have all jetted-off on holiday this week, leaving me behind to plough through a never-decreasing pile of prosecution work. Unable to afford a last-minute trip to a luxury resort, I instead started to wonder, “If only I had wings…” I’m not alone in this thought of course: Leonardo da Vinci conceptualised flying machines, and the annual ‘Birdman’ contest demonstrates mankind’s unwavering desire to fly even when travel by plane is possible. So, it’s no wonder that someone has patented a human/wind powered flying suit.
US8087609B2 provides a “completely dynamic human powered flying suit“, which comprises a creepy-looking “pair of bat wings and an interconnecting flexible main sheet“. The human ‘pilot’ lies “on top of and in the center of the non-rigid section of the apparatus when in flight“.
Apparently, the device is based on “the flight of bats (Chiroptera)” because “bats are the only flying animals most closely related to human beings in that they are both mammals“. That does make sense, I suppose…
Before you get your hopes up about using the device, note that the patent stipulates various conditions that govern whether you can use the device: “To use a dynamic human/wind powered flying suit or “Fletcher” a pilot must 1) be physically fit, especially, in upper body strength and in endurance. A suitable fitness program will have had to be followed for sometime before attempting to fly in this manner. 2) Knowledge of air currents and aerodynamics will lead to a successful and safe flight. A pilot must understand how the Fletcher, and its parts, will react to the forces of wind and human strength placed upon it. 3) A pilot must realize the limits of his/her physical abilities to prevent falls from exhaustion or injury. 4) A pilot must be able to inspect the aircraft for safety and integrity before attempting any flight“.
Thanks go out to Steven Scott (outgoing Informals Tutorial Co-Ordinator) who forwarded the patent for our amusement!
(Yellow Sheet Editor)