The inventor, Aaron “Wyp” Wypyszynski, replied to the comments and addressed some of the questions put forward. See below, if you are one of the WingBoard enthusiasist, and just can’t get enough. We hope we will see the prototypes of this flying soon!
A few further details to some common questions:
Rider Strength: In fact, the RC model is fully articulated with small nylon bolts at each of the joints to ensure forces are not too high on the rider. The small plastic servo gears also served as a great test for over stressed joints. The balance of rider force was worked and reworked on the scale models for over a year. When intolerable forces were experienced in the early models, it was readily seen as the specific joints of the rider would break. A key element to the design was also minimize shock on the rope, a specific amount of spring is required to absorb turbulence and not result in sling shooting the rider.
Air Launch/Wake Turbulence: Air launch was the original goal, but it is hard to find an aircraft that has a 12 foot wide opening. Also, the tow rope likes to cause lots of oscillation when it is short, it needs to be at least 150 feet long for the tow rope forces and the aerodynamic forces to work well together. The wake turbulence close to the tow plane, especially one big enough to launch the WingBoard is too much, thus requiring a smaller plane and a longer tow rope, the high wing loading of the WingBoard is then enough to cut through the turbulence (notice how smooth the video is).
To hard to learn/ take off from the ground: There is a plan to tow with a tail-rotor-less / enclosed tail rotor helicopter for initial tests and learning. Climb to 5000ft and then start. The tow rope limits the maneuverability to avoid the main rotors.
Parachute Deploy Height: The great thing is that when you are on tow, you can deploy the parachute without loosing much altitude (10-20 feet). Deploy parachute and then automatically timed cut the tow rope a second or two later. Canopy is fully inflated and you have barely come off tow.
Tow Plane Control: We towed the 1/6th scale model with a 1/6th scale piper cub. Yes the tow pilot can feel the WingBoard pulling him, but mostly in yaw and rudder is able to counter the effects. The forces generated by the WingBoard are much less than a glider (it only has to lift 300lbs total vs 1000+ for a glider). It is all about weight ratio, the WingBoard is 1/10th the weight and force of the tow plane ( a glider is typically 1/2).