Gryphon winged suit drops in for some serious air time
By Jeff Salton
December 8, 2009
Are you were waiting for a good reason to join the armed forces? Perhaps you are just a kid who always dreamed of flying and never grew up, or maybe you are thinking of challenging Yves (Jetman) Rossy in the human winged flight game? This could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Get ready to duck … the Gryphon Next Generation Parachute System could be headed your way. Although engine-less, the Gryphon still has an electronic guidance system and heads-up display navigation and all equipment is cleverly tucked away making for better “stealth” flights.
Aimed at the military, this high-tech human gliding device allows parachutists to leap from planes and glide in any chosen direction (except up) at speeds around 60mph - a somewhat conservative speed suggested by the manufacturers - SPELCO (Special Parachute and Logistics Consortium).
Presently, a parachute is used to stop and drop a flier to the ground or at his target but SPELCO says it plans to develop a version that can be landed by itself.
The consortium, comprising two German companies, produces a variety of parachute systems, helmets, oxygen supplies and other gear and services. But the Gryphon Next Generation Parachute System is what has pricked most people’s interest.
SPELCO says the Gryphon system is designed for use in “high-altitude, high-opening” jump missions, typically carried out by Special Forces. This 6ft wing delivers great maneuverability with a glide ratio of 5:1, which means if you step out at five miles high (26,000ft), you can glide for 25 miles.
According to the consortium the suit performed over 50 test flights back in 2006 and it says the next step is to look at mounting small engines (as Yves Rossy does) which would increase its mission range, speed … and possibilities!
No response yet from SPELCO on when this might actually happen.