Test engineer Aaron “Wyp” Wypyszynski formed Wyp Aviation in Huntsville, Alabama, to create a surfboard for the sky—one towed behind an airplane. The concept involves a surfer wearing a parachute and standing on a Wyp WingBoard that has its own parachute. An introductory video shows both the airplane and the surfer doing formation rolls. The tow apparatus has multiple breakaway links for safety.
From the company website, here is how a flight begins and ends: “The initial thought was to deploy it from an aircraft in flight; however, stability issues and forces on deployment quickly ruled this out. Instead, a WingBoarder starts the same way a glider starts: on tow behind the tow plane. The WingBoard is equipped with landing gear, allowing a rolling takeoff. The tow rope design permits the rider to maintain a relaxed position while allowing the tow plane and WingBoard to do all the work.
“Two options exist for landing: a rolling landing and landing via parachute. A rolling landing is performed just as a normal landing is, though the tow plane pilot must pay attention to the WingBoard's distance from the runway. This maneuver is practiced by gliders in the event that a tow rope becomes stuck and they are unable to separate from the tow plane. The rider may also elect to disconnect from the tow line and use his or her parachute for landing.”
If the Kickstarter campaign to fund the company works, there will be a series of tests with unpiloted prototypes.