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July 10, 2012

Wingsuit Landing Problems and Solutions for Batman and in Real life

The movie Batman Begins shows the character of Batman gliding using a rigid form of his cape.

Given his current cape design, Batman could glide to a distance of about 350 meters if he were to jump from a building about 150 meters high, a group of four University of Leicester physics students found.



"The problem with the glide lies in his velocity as he reaches ground level," they wrote in the university's Journal of Special Physics Topics.

The velocity rises rapidly to a maximum of a little over 110km/hr before steadying
to a constant speed of around 80km/hr.

Batman's wingspan, at 4.7 meters, is about half that of a hang glider. The scientists conclude that the crusader get a bigger cape, pack a parachute, or use propulsion jets to keep himself aloft.

In the movie, Batman had special material that would become rigid with an electrical current. So packing a bigger cape glider could be possible with thinner cape material.

In reality, the most compact designs would involve inflatable wings, but they have to be made more compact and need replacements for the metal struts.





Biwing Suit Proposed but Probably needs reinforcement

A bi-wing wingsuit design should be a matter simple to start with small additions as an experiment, and increase the area of the second wing little by little to see what is most practical. But the bi-wing needs to be placed ahead of the lower wing (the arms) somewhat, and I believe that the rear opening between the wings needs to be a little less wide than the front area between the wings. That is how they do it on bi-wing aircraft.

A bi-wing wingsuit design could achieve a lower stall speed.

However, some have argued that there would be force problems with stacking airfoils.



You can't stack the airfoils into a bi wing as the human body can only resist so much force. The wingsuit Gary Connery (Jumped from 2400 feet with a wingsuit and landed in boxes) used is at the max of what the human muscles can endure before they are torn. To use bigger or bi wings, the suit would have to incorporate solid struts. But wings with solid stuts and ribs are what killed all the original wingsuit pilots of the 1930 and 40's; guys like Clem Sohn and Leo Valentin.



Batman solutions

For Batman solutions are
* he could make his wingcape bigger
* he could land in a large pile of soft garbage
* he could fire a bat cable or bat bungee cord behind him to slow his forward speed from 60 mph
* he could control his jump so that he finishes by climbing up from near street level to 6 stories higher to use up the extra speed
* he could deploy some crash net or large crash bag in front of himself just before landing/crashing
* his suit/helmet could have crash resistance and he uses his skills to make the 60 mph crash non-fatal. Landing on a downward slope and into some amount of on the ground padding (bushes etc...)


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