Humanity’s obsession with leaping from the skies and back to Earth with a parachute and a prayer (or an Automatic Activation Device), has taken many forms: skydiving out of hot air balloon swings, skydiving out of a plane without any parachute whatsoever. But now, for the first time ever, love of high-altitude adrenaline rushes has been combined with that other aerial obsession, drones, for the world’s first “drone jump.”
The jump was planned and executed by Aerones, a Latvian high-power drone development company, which is apparently looking to make large, powerful drones in order to disrupt sectors including, but not limited to, rescue, construction, transportation, and sports photography. To prove that their drones are capable of lifting a serious amount of weight — currently up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) — they had one lift skydiver Ingus Augstkalns to a height of about 330 meters (roughly 1082 feet). Once at that height, Augstkalns released from his handlebars (he was wearing gloves, because, presumably, that palm-sweat action was insane) and skydived back to Earth.
The jump took place in Māļi, a rural area of Amata, Latvia, and took Aerones and Augstkalns six months to plan. They decided to have Augstkalns latch himself onto the drone at the top of a 120 meter-tall (roughly 393 feet) communications tower owned and operated by the Latvian State Radio and Television Center (LVRTC). Presumably, they chose to have Augstkalns grab onto the drone at this height because, no one wanted a malfunction at a height where a chute couldn’t open in time.
As for what to look forward to in the future, Aerones seems set on proving that their drones can do everything from tow wakeboarders to rescue hikers. Here it is fighting fires:
Here it is being used as a helicopter hat:
No wait, that’s Inspector Gadget.
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Images: YouTube / Aerones