Russian Military Engineers Have Essentially Built the Goblin Glider from 'Spider-Man'

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 - 9:59AM
Technology
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 - 9:59AM
Russian Military Engineers Have Essentially Built the Goblin Glider from 'Spider-Man'
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment, Columbia
Remember the origin story behind the Green Goblin in the 2002 Spider-Man movie? How Norman Osborn's technology company has a defense contract to develop a one-man glider for use in military operations? Well, welcome to the superhero future: Russian defense company Kalashnikov (the same company that built the original AK-47) has built something that perfectly fits that description.



Flying car technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, with a lot of different players eagerly investing in this emerging field of research in the hopes of being among the first to commercialize—or in this case, weaponize—sci-fi optimism for a future that laughs at the laws of gravity. What sets Kalashnikov's prototype apart is how exposed it feels—this "flying car" is lightweight and efficient with its materials, which no doubt helps it to achieve lift, but also leaves the pilot without much protection.

While it looks like Norman Osborn steers his glider using controls at his feet (this is never addressed in the movie itself), this real-life glider benefits from a pair of joysticks which function fairly similarly, allowing the craft some fairly impressive maneuverability. It's easy to see how these could catch on for use both in military operations and general leisure use.

There's still a long way to go before this glider can be deemed battle-ready. One big challenge is that the craft is battery-powered, which allows it to remain lightweight and therefore airborne, but also means that it probably won't be able to manage much more than thirty minutes in the air without needing to be recharged.

Another challenge will be one of safety for the pilot, although, again, the Green Goblin may have the best possible solution to this in the form of advanced combat armor. After all, the US military is hard at work making super-thick, lightweight protective gear out of the silk from genetically enhanced super spiders, and marrying these two pieces of technology would feel like the perfect combination of two classic Marvel comic book characters.



Since it looks like we're getting close to seeing one-man hovering gliders used in military situations, we can only hope that the Russian army keeps these things under lock and key—the last thing we want is a supervillain getting their hands on one and beginning a crusade against the citizens of New York (or maybe Moscow).
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