Science and technology have made possible quite a number of impossible tasks while providing users with the freedom to materialize their dreams. One such user is Aaron Wypyszynski, the founder of Wyp Aviation, a company based in Alabama. He has his eyes set on introducing a new sport that combines wakeboarding, skydiving and wingsuit flying. The sport is called WingBoarding in which a rider can be towed behind a plane. Yes, this picture below will take you to places since the inspiration comes from TaleSpin – a Disney animated series.
The name Wingboard describes the sport pretty well; the user shall stand on a winged board which will be towed by the plane. The rope being used for the purpose of towing divides into two ropes about 3m away from the rider. One of the ropes is then attached to the WingBoard while the second rope gets affixed to the tow bar which the rider holds onto. In order to minimize loads that the user is being subjected to; the rider is connected to the board via foot bindings that provide a flexible footing to the rider while the rider is connected to the tow bar like a kite is attached to a kite surfer.
According to Wypyszynski, this configuration helps in distributing the forces between the rider and the board so that if the speed is 100 Mph, the rider will only be subjected to a force worth 80 lbs. This configuration helps in better balancing of the board, enabling the rider to ride and have fun instead of spending all the time in balancing the board. It also creates a sort of triangle to limit the pitch angle, thus preventing the board from getting into an uncomfortable angle.
The board has been designed so that it provides lift while enabling the rider to control it in two different manners; one is by changing position on the board – leaning and rotating. The second control given to the user is that the Wingboard can be started using force sensors which have been built into the foot binding and on the tow bar. The plane takes off with the board behind it which comes with the landing gear and the rider riding it.
Once you are done having fun, you can return to the land by latching yourself free and using a parachute to glide back to the earth or you can perform a rolling landing as well. Wypyszynski has claimed that safety was the focal point while designing and manufacturing this WingBoard and stated that the aim was to make it so safe that ‘an average person would someday be able to ride it.’
The board has quite a number of impressive safety features. The user has two parachutes; one for the user and the other for the board in case of emergency. There is an option for automated tow release in case excessive force is registered being applied to the line. The binding release can be used by the rider to get free from the board.
So far, Wypyszynski has been able to manufacture a 1/6th scale model and used a remote controlled plan to showcase the stability and control. The project has moved to the second phase where Wypyszynski is busy raising funds on Kickstarter with a goal of $32,000.
If all goes well, Wypyszynski plans to have the flight tests carried out for the prototype during the second half of 2016 and the production shall start in 2017.