The air sports pioneer, Peter Salzmann just successfully soared through the sky at speeds of up to 300km/h with the help of German marque, BMW in a newly developed electric wingsuit.
With the effort of both, a professional base jumper and air sportsman Peter Salzmann and BMW Group company Designworks (Newbury Park, Calif., U.S.), BMW I (sub-brand of BMW founded in 2011 to design and manufacture electric vehicles) developed an electric-powered wingsuit. The Electrified Wingsuit took three years of intense research and thousands of test flights in BMW’s horizontal wind tunnel (the same wind tunnel it uses to make its cars as aerodynamic as possible) to have the first flight over the picturesque mountains of Austria.
Salzmann jumped out of a helicopter hovering at nearly 10,000 feet (3.000m), alongside two other fliers sporting conventional wingsuits. He flew over the mountains and landed safely by deploying his parachute.
BMW claims the electric wingsuit enabled Salzmann to accelerate faster than his mates at a peak speed of almost 300km/h (180 mph), while a normal wingsuit operator typically reaches horizontal speeds around 100km/h (60 mph).
“Flying is freedom. It’s the ultimate expression of striving for the unknown and discovering new horizons,” says Salzmann.
Components of the Electric-Powered Wingsuit
The device that took about three years, called by the German carmaker Electrified Wingsuit, consists of two main parts: a suit with wing-like pieces of fabric, and a compact electric drive unit that is built around a pair of carbon fiber propellers that spin at up to 25,000 rpm and deliver 15 kilowatts, which represents approximately 20 hp. There is a 50 V lithium battery attached to the pilot’s breastplate which weighs around 26 lbs (12kg) but can produce thrust up to 15 minutes. Thanks to BMW’s engineers, the rig weighs only 26 pounds because it’s made of aluminum and carbon fiber.
“Sustainability is very important to me, and something I try to live my everyday life by. I enjoy nature from the air and on the ground — that’s why I aim to consistently follow the path of sustainability even when it comes to mobility,” Salzmann tells BMW.
While Salzmann’s first flight was a huge success, it appears he’s not resting on his laurels. According to BMW, Salzmann wants to fly between the skyscrapers of South Korea next: “I will have to train more,” “We will optimize the technique and look ahead boldly,” the Austrian adds.
Watch Peter Salzmann’s flight over Drei Brüder or “Three Brothers” mountain peaks, close to his childhood home. Check it out below.
“I only want to do things that are close to my heart,” reports the 33-year-old.
The maiden voyage has also marked the first edition of BMW’s #NEXTGen, a web series that introduces you to the BMW Group’s technologies, products, and collaborations.
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