Assuming a superhero was flying by air pushing against his feet, how fast would he have to go to stay airborne?

He is flying prone, superman style. Air is pushing his feet, and in turn the rest of his body forward through the air.

I want to know so their can be a lowest reasonable a superhero should be flying around in.

I am not counting hovering, since that is not for travel anyway. Their weight is average, like 150 pounds.

closed as off-topic by Kyle Jones, user56, Monty129, phantom42, Stan Jul 26 '13 at 12:26

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  • 1
    That seems like an odd way for a superhero to fly. Why is air pushing against his feet? Usually, things move by pushing against something else, not the other way around. Unless the superhero is a sailboat and can only fly when there happens to be a really strong wind in the direction he wants to go, this doesn't seem to make much sense. Is he using some kind of magic that can command the elements? If so, why bother with the physical explanation involving lift or orbital velocity? – Lèse majesté Jul 26 '13 at 7:45
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    Superheroes don't usually obey the rules of physics, so the answer is usually 0 or whatever the plot requires. – user56 Jul 26 '13 at 8:54

A human body isn't shaped particularly aerodynamic (and capes don't exactly help with that). It's theoretically possible to generate lift by having the body positioned slanted so that it deflects air downwards, but the calculations to determine lift are really complex even for much simpler shapes.

But if you already have a mysterious force pushing against the superher's feet, wouldn't it be much easier if it also pushed against them from below and thus generated the lift directly?

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