In the game you can glide, then go into a dive, and then glide again. Using this technique you can travel long distances. Is that possible in real life?

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  • Should this question be in gaming.stackexchange.com? – abhicantdraw May 21 '12 at 17:37
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    @abhiii5459 I was thinking Physics. – Iszi May 21 '12 at 17:39
  • but fly like that it's science fiction, I really don't know where it's the best place :S – osdamv May 21 '12 at 17:39
  • Physics.SE would be a better fit than gaming.SE, but this is pretty basic physics. – user1027 May 21 '12 at 17:43

I will presume you are talking about the real world when you ask, so I will say, using the method that Batman does in the game, by turning his cape into a makeshift and temporary glider, the answer would be NOT YET.

The technology for such a thing may actually exist in the near-future by using materials called memory plastics or shape-memory polymers. Shape memory polymer function by running an electrical charge through a treated material, the material would be able to take and hold a particular shape for a period of time or until the charge is released. The cape could potentially have a SMP ribbing and be fluid-like until a charge was added.

The manufacture of SMPs is relatively expensive and complex, so it isn't something you would see in your average day yet but they have potentially a wide array of possible uses so you can expect them in the robotics, medical, sports and eventually even fashion industries.

The technology is still in its infancy but has the potential for a wide array of applications. Perhaps base jumpers and hang gliders will one day get to experience such a capability, once its been made easier and safer to use.


A series of scientists take the temperature of the idea of Batman using his cape as a glider to reduce his damage from falls and the scientific jury says: Not on your life. Unless Batman gets a whole lot more cape, he will hit the ground at nearly 50 miles an hour. They suggest a jet system (possibly like Batman Beyond) or to stack cardboard boxes to absorb his inertia and soften his landings; which might look a little strange scattered all over Gotham...

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    What's also not visible in the video... Major updrafts. Even with the proposed high-tech cape (which would most likely need to be much larger), you still need lift. You can trade speed for lift, to a degree, but to do the kind of constant near-flight you see him do would require large numbers of updrafts to work with, as well. Not impossible, in a city; thermals from steam gratings and the like could make it plausible.. He'd need an encyclopedic knowledge of the city's heat patterns, or some kind of accurate, real-time heat-sensing HUD, to make it plausible. – K-H-W May 21 '12 at 17:39
  • I would second the lack of thermal support for long term gliding. They should have just created some sort of short term flight pack and been done with it. The Rule of Cool is in application here. – Thaddeus Howze May 21 '12 at 17:41
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    The video shows Batman using his grappling gun to pull himself back up to higher elevations. The many dives the player takes are primarily to gain speed, not to re-gain altitude. – Xantec May 23 '12 at 3:06

You can do it, but you need a much bigger wing surface; think hang glider or ram-air parachute to get the proper scale. I think the Batman Begins movie poster comes closest to getting the scale right but I think even that wing is still too small.

flying batman

  • This appears to (at least) comes close, according to this man's calculations. – Marc.2377 Sep 21 '16 at 1:50

No, this isn't possible in real life, at least not for such prolonged and sustained amount of time. Between friction and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the person gliding would need to take in energy to maintain their gliding.

In the game, there's no thermal currents to provide lift, so Batman is essentially breaking the laws of physics by being able to glide forever. In real life, you'd need the glider to receive boosts of some sort from an external force to maintain perpetual flight.

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    In the game,he doesn't glide forever. They've tried to implement the physics of it all quite practically in their game engine. He glides for a while and lands eventually. – abhicantdraw May 21 '12 at 17:47

Humans can't,not yet anyway. But my theory is Batman is secretly a vampire and has powers of energy manipulation; including thermokinesis, the ability to control temperature/make breezy for everyone haha. This also explains why he doesn't splatter at fifty miles per hour; with the help of chi/life force energy sucked from the souls of his criminal-victims lol; he learned how to harness his chi on his travels to India. XD

I could totally believe that.

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