The Daedalus Files Vol 1
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Using a new Gryphon-7 hard-shell wingsuit, Tiger Baily, irreverent member of the Navy SEALS Winged Insertion Command, makes a harrowing first experimental base jump from the edge of Space, the Fred Noonan Skyport 80,000 meters above Jarvis Island in the Equatorial Pacific. Tiger’s target, which he must reach to survive, is Kiritimati Island, a tiny isolated atoll 379 km northeast of Jarvis over ever-threatening and oh-so-deep ocean waters.
Publisher: Fresh Ink Group
CALIFORNIA – SEVERAL YEARS IN THE PAST
Obviously, I survived, since I am telling this story. But it’s not that simple – let me explain.
My name is Derek Baily. I’m an extreme sports enthusiast, an adrenaline junkie. It all started several years ago when I made my first parachute jump. Before that, I was just your typical skateboarder, snowboarder, trick-bike rider…I think you get the idea. I had gone parasailing a couple of times, and it was really cool. I decided I wanted to do more of that and was talking it over with my buds. That’s when one of them suggested that I try a jump.
“Jump out of a perfectly safe airplane?” I asked, but only half in jest.
“How about next Saturday?” he said.READ MORE
YOSEMITE PARK – TWO YEARS LATER
One thing led to another, and a couple of years later, on May 16, I found myself standing on Taft Point in Yosemite National Park, dressed in a fire-engine-red wingsuit. It wasn’t as if I had permission or anything, it was just something I had to do. I was there to commemorate the ill-fated flight of Dean Potter and Graham Hunt from the same spot on the same day back in 2015. A couple of Forest Rangers with a bullhorn did their very best to stop me. They had followed me to the Point, and were perhaps three meters away, and I still wasn’t quite ready – I mean, I still had to narrow my focus. But it was then or never, so I jumped.
The first hundred meters were a bit rough as I got my act together. I would have flipped off the Rangers, but my hands were kinda full. My wingsuit was significantly better than was Potter’s. He had a three-to-one glide ratio – better than most, but not quite good enough to hit the slot that loomed ahead of me. It could have been a down-draft that got him and Hunt, but I think they cut it a bit too close. I had a glide ratio of five-to-one, which meant hitting the slot was a piece of cake. I cleared it by about a meter-and-a-half, with clear flying beyond. I stretched it out as long as possible, and finally popped my canopy as close to the ground as I dared – maybe a hundred meters or so. I landed standing, soft as a feather. By the time the Rangers got there, my pickup crew and I were long gone.
Like I said, that’s how I got from there to here.
CORONADO, CALIFORNIA – THE GRYPHON
The worldwide wingsuit community is quite small, although it has grown in the last few decades. Even so, there were less than a thousand of us – that is until the military figured out how to turn our sport into a pretty nifty weapon system with a little help from the Special Parachute and Logistics Consortium (SPELCO) in Germany. SPELCO had built an experimental wingsuit called the Gryphon that, in its original version, had a glide ratio of five-to-one – when everything else was between two-and-a-half and three to one. It was pretty exciting, except no one could afford one. It turned out the Navy SEAL Teams picked up on the concept, and quietly developed a combat model.
Someone in the SEAL hierarchy concluded it might be useful to recruit guys from the wingsuit community. They even put together a special program that bypassed regular boot camp and all the other stuff a guy normally goes through before being assigned to BUDS – Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. About a year after I shot the slot in Yosemite, I found myself in Coronado, California, training with a bunch of the toughest bad-asses I had ever met. BUDS was the hardest thing I ever did, literally, absolutely! Somehow I made it through. Don’t ask me how I did it, because I don’t have a clue. I just put one foot in front of the other, raised my arms for one more stroke in the surf, dug down and found another push-up…I just slogged along, firmly believing I was sucking hind tit, barely surviving, hoping against hope that I would make it through.
As it turned out, to my total astonishment, I was one of the top guys in my class. Beyond BUDS, I went through a whole series of advanced training scenarios. Even though I had been recruited specifically for my wingsuit background, the SEALs insisted that I undergo the entire training cycle. Two years later – yeah, that’s right, a full two years later – I finally reported to my new outfit, the SEAL Winged Insertion Command, SWIC for short.COLLAPSE
Angie's reads on Amazon reader review wrote:
Williscroft's usual attention to technical detail and firsthand experience with military ops pays off in this wild tale set in the world of his Slingshot, about the first wingsuit jump from a launch loop.
Lemmy Caution on Amazon reader review wrote:
How about a free fall from a spot 80,000 meters above the world. Tiger hangs ready for the jump of a lifetime but this courageous man is one of a kind. That's why he was recruited to test Gryphon-7. A suit with wings and a jet pack which can make the user literally fly.
This story is an adrenaline junkies' guide to the ultimate ride. An excitement that can't be denied as the author brings Tiger to life to live in the dangerous life that makes the rest of us civies so safe.
An editors note: watch out for the klicks, there's a lot of them.
Dr. John R. Clarke Author of The Jason Parker Series on Amazon editorial review wrote:
Science history is full of inventions inspired by the science fiction of Jules Verne, HG Wells, and Star Trek. Robert Williscroft’s stories fire my imagination in the same way. I enjoyed this short story for all the reasons that I love this author’s work: full of real science described in such detail that I can picture this world, feel this world, and lose myself in it. The story follows Derek Baily, a wingsuit adrenaline junky whom you’d normally read about in Outside Magazine. He was recruited by the military to test out its military-grade wingsuit called the Gryphon-7, which is faster and more efficient. The wingsuit is described in detail: the material, the design, its performance numbers in speed, altitude, and glide ratio, all these things that engineering nerds love in their hardcore, science-based fiction. It was fascinating. The story culminates with a test jump from a space launch loop, an elevator the lifts people and material into low-earth orbit for easier launch into space and which was the subject of the author’s earlier novel Slingshot. If you’re a fan of that novel, you will enjoy this side story. The author does what he does best in building a realistic future world of real science and engineering that inspires me to think of what is possible.
Afraid of Heights? Then you won’t make it as a member of SEAL Winged Insertion Command.
For a once in a lifetime thrill, follow the thoughts and actions of Derek “Tiger” Bailey, most adept member of Second Platoon, First Squad as he wrings out the details of making a wingsuit jump from a platform eighty kilometers (fifty miles) above Jarvis Island on the Equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Tiger Bailey reached that platform using the “Slingshot” space portal system described in Robert G. Williscroft’s richly detailed series of hard science fiction novels, “The Starchild Trilogy.” But rather than launch into space from the Fred Noonan Skyport, Tiger Bailey attempts a 236 mile traverse over the ever threatening and oh so deep ocean waters. This is what SEALs do, test new means of surreptitiously inserting themselves into combat zones.
While the beginning and middle of Williscroft’s short story is mesmerizing, the fifty mile high drop and long distance transit will have you holding your breath.
Much to Williscroft’s credit, the physics and dynamics of Tiger’s record breaking flight seem spot on.
This story won’t take you long to read, but I promise you’ll keep thinking about it for a long time.