Given on the moon (or other place with 1/6th the gravity of the earth, though let's use the moon to keep this anchored in a real scenario) a "flying room" within which to fly, such as a large enough dome or underground space, and filled with your choice of gas (O2 for breathing plus N or any other nontoxic gas) at your choice of pressure, and being any reasonably large size, and assuming that the kind of flight we're looking for is:
- Unpowered if possible;
- Without a fuselage or enclosure, just wings, and
- Primarily for the purpose of sport, with in-close "aerial combat" flying and with the strong possibility of collision or stalling occurring
What kind and size wings would be required for a human of 180 pounds to be able to fly? 280 pounds? What kind of safety margins for lift, stall recovery, and so on would make sense? Could you take a stab at min and max flight speeds?
Could cardboard wings work, or would it have to be fiberglass, carbon fiber, Curran or otherwise?
Would practical flight require fixed wings with controls and some kind of manually-turned propeller, or could flapping with the arms actually work as a motive force? Two sets of wings? If self-propulsion were impractical, could flight still be slow enough with a motorized propeller that multiple humans flying together or even playing a flying game such as grabbing a ribbon from the foot of another flyer (risking collision) would not be unduly safe? I know that there are real fixed-wing rocket-powered contraptions for humans to fly without being inside a vehicle, but these must move very fast and would never work inside a dome that could feasibly be constructed--flight speeds would have to be much, much lower inside a dome.
I'm guessing there could be some flight characteristics problems for wings attached at the arms as the human body is very heavy and the arms are comparatively far forward. (I, for one, carry a lot of weight in my legs.) What would have to be done to compensate for this?
What interesting moon-specific safety differences would be possible or required? I'm thinking that a parachute could be much smaller, or it could even be something like a person-enclosing auto-inflating ball (like a life vest, but it wraps around the person from the back to enclose him in a giant sphere so he half floats, and half bounces on impact). What would be safe heights to fly above the ground (so stalls can be recovered from)?
Feel free to explore any other interesting aspects, such as terminal velocity in the selected atmosphere, the size of the dome required to have a reasonable arena for enjoyable flight, the construction method and materials (underground, aboveground, glass or opaque), hazards from radiation, dome failure, etc.
If this question is better off at aviation or worldbuilders or some other site, please indicate so and we can ask for it to be moved, or I'll close this question and re-ask elsewhere.
Help on the tags appreciated.