BMW Group has showcased an electrified wingsuit that can reach speeds of more than 300km/h and can take the sport to a new level.
“The innovative drive module and the likewise entirely newly designed wingsuit were developed in a cooperation between BMW i, Designworks and the professional wingsuit pilot Peter Salzmann from Austria,” BMW Group said in a media statement.
The electrified wingsuit has been created to allow skydivers to reach higher speeds and enjoy longer periods in freefall. Spinning up to 25,000rpm, the electric motors hang from the wingsuit at chest level and are designed to run for up to five minutes.
It took three years to develop the electrified wingsuit and features two carbon-fibre impellers that are driven by a 10kW electric motor. During this time, Salzmann and his partners at BMW i and Designworks in Newbury Park, California, worked jointly on the details of the suit and the drive system. The electric twin-propeller drive system, including an energy storage unit, were perfectly integrated into the front of the wingsuit. The tests in the wind tunnel at the BMW Group Aerodynamics Testing Centre in Munich were a significant part of the development program for the project, BMW Group said.
Salzmann’s maiden flight with the Electrified Wingsuit by BMW i was visually captured in a video documentation.
Throw the rulebook out the window.
The first-ever #BornElectric wingsuit impeller just made history. Watch Peter Salzmann ascend over a mountain top at https://t.co/n5SHfjggOd.#NEXTGen #ElectrifiedWingSuit pic.twitter.com/tgBKXS36eG
— BMW (@BMW) November 7, 2020
“The spectacular film, which will be seen for the first time in the run-up to the #NEXTGen 2020, shows impressively how BMW eDrive technology is able to make a lasting change to the individual mobility experience – not only on the road,” said BMW Group.
Salzmann, 33, is a skydiving instructor who has made base jumping and skydiving his profession. In addition to skydiving training and wingsuit flying, his repertoire includes film stunts and show appearances. When jumping from cliffs or out of an aircraft, Salzmann uses the textile layer stretched between the arms and legs of his wingsuit as a paraglider that allows him to generate a horizontal flight movement from the fall velocity and the airflow. With each metre of descent, up to three metres of horizontal flight can be achieved. Wingsuit skydivers can reach speeds of more than 100km/h.
“The aim of the electric drive system is to increase the performance of the wingsuit in order to achieve a better constant glide flight, thus allowing longer distances to be covered. Upon activation, Salzmann explains, the pilot experiences immediate acceleration, allowing them to fly at speeds of more than 300km/h. For the maiden flight with the Electrified Wingsuit by BMW i Salzmann was flown by helicopter together with two other wingsuit pilots over the mountain tops of his Austrian homeland,” BMW Group said.
“Directly after the jump from an altitude of 3,000 metres, all three flew in formation in the direction of a mountain massif. With the aid of the electric drive Salzmann accelerated faster than his colleagues and was able to fly across the peak in steep flight. After flying a further curve, he met up with the other two pilots who had flown in glide flight around the mountain. The three wingsuit pilots finally opened their parachutes and landed at the agreed destination.”
Traditionally, wingsuits are powered by small jets that, occasionally, are strapped to the feet of the skydiver.