(Related to Human Dragonfly wings)
The mutant thread is back. For more context, see my previous questions.
One of my character is a "subtle" mutant (no outward sign) that has an affinity for biotechnology. Being able to interact and direct evolution of simple organisms, he chose to fight crime by designing a series of gadgets using biological mechanisms that can be found in nature, and mostly in insects.
One of those gadgets has to make him able to fly.
(The thread mentioned above asks for a biological solution. I'm asking for a reasonable biotechnological solution)
Assuming access to sufficient energy, I looked into the advantages two pairs of light and flexible flapping wings would offer over a single pair. So far, I listed a few:
- Two sets of wings allow for better air control and maneuverability, faster acceleration and stationary flight. Some sources (coming up) I read mention also that the two-pairs option is more energy-efficient by about 20% for stationary flight (second pair helps in reducing energy waste).
- A dragonfly wing is comparatively thinner and weighs less than a bird wing (relatively to their respective sizes). I suppose this means flapping an insect-like wing requires comparatively less energy than flapping a bird-like wing. Having two sets would mean you can also share the required surface for lift-off between the two sets.
- Mechanically, it would probably be easier to emulate the movement of a insect wing, with no joints, than the movement of a bird's wings (that need joints and motors built-in to the wing). Following that, you could probably fold your insect wings with more ease than mechanical bird like wings.
The user of this "flying-backpack" using two pairs of wings:
- Use them outdoor, not indoors, in an urban environment. So they can be quite large, but the smaller the better.
- Won't haul cargo. So you "just" need the lift-off for 90~95kg of human and gear.
- Has access to a high-power, short duration source of energy, so he will probably use the wings for a few short trips (hundreds of meters) per day during short periods of time. (I don't know if the duration impact the answer - could be relevant to the stress put on the wings)
Is such device plausible (specifically, can it generate enough lift to actually fly, or does it need to be paired with some sort of jetpack)?
Answers who can provide maths relative to lift and precise the required wing surface/span/relevant parameter as well as any supplementary thrust that you would need are appreciated.
The other thread mentions the flapping speed of dragonflies. I suppose this is important when calculating the lift, so that and every other relevant parameter is up to the answerer to answer why or why not it would be feasible.
Edit 1: On the technology you can use, the character is about "enhanced biologic stuff". Example, enhanced arachnid silk for bulletproof vest. You can assume whatever the wings are made of are scaled-up, enhanced versions of their biological counterparts (in the way you need it - more resistant, more flexible, better heat dispersion, etc). Sadly, no force-field.
Edit 2: The question was a bit blurry, so I cleared it out to focus on: Is it plausible? I want to know if I can use such a device in my story without making it out of handwaivium.
As pointed by Lucas A, some other insect wing disposition might be better suited so feel free to post an answer for insect-like wing flying kit with a different wing patterns, as long as it is insectoid and you can provide a reason why it would be better suited. Edit 3: Excerpt from comments:
Exactly, power source is the handwaved part. Count about 80kg of pilot, 10 kg of gear and "battery" max and the remaining being the wings (the last 15 kg are negociable, I'm not fixed on the character being exactly 80kg )
In "folded" position, the wings need to be as unencombering as possible. So having them in the body axis, along the back would be preferable. So let's go for about 50cm (shoulder width) by 1m or so (back length + a bit is okay)