High speed flight in an electric flight suit

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Peter Salzmann from Austria is a base jumping enthusiast who approached BMWi, BMW’s electric propulsion subsidiary, in 2017 with the idea of an electrically powered wingsuit. And last year, he demonstrated the device in a video at #NEXTGen 2020. Although it is debatable whether wingsuits or various rocket-backpack solutions are more viable in the long term, the electric wingsuit seems more like a sporting device than a technology with practical applications in mind. As a sports tool, however, with the right skill, physicality and experience, it is phenomenal: the modified wingsuit allows for brutal speeds. Officially called the Electrified Wingsuit, the two built-in propellers are located in the chest and abdomen of the suit.

The propellers move at 25 000 rpm and are powered by a 7.5 kW motor each. The motors are powered by a 50 V lithium-ion battery and are activated by a throttle lever inserted in the left sleeve of the suit. For this stunt, Salzmann jumped out of a helicopter from an altitude of 3 km and reached a top speed of 299 km/h thanks to propellers – not only is the pilot soaring through the sky like Superman at such a height an eerie sight, but he is also a world record holder – officially recognised by Guinness World Record as the first time someone has galloped through the big blue in an electrically powered wingsuit.

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