Miyazaki-Inspired Jet Glider Flies Before Crowds In Japan

Valley of the win

OpenSky's Jet Glider
OpenSky's Jet Glider
"Jet glider" is a bit of a misnomer, as gliders are by definition unpowered vehicles. It's still really cool, though.Screenshot by author, from YouTube

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a film about an apocalypse, a millennium after an earlier apocalypse. The 1984 anime, by now-legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, is a sort of gunpowder fantasy, with strange bio-engineered toxic monsters cohabitating a world with windmill farms and sword-armed guardians. The most iconic machine from the film is the jet-powered glider flown by the protagonist Nausicaä. Could such a fanciful flyer ever actually work?

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

A miniature version of the glider first flew in 2003, and since 2006, it's been the chief goal of artist Kazuhiko Hachiya's OpenSky project. Last month, the craft flew before an audience at the Takikawa Skypark in Takikawa, Hokkaido. It's a beautiful, remarkable machine, and one we don't even have to wait for an apocalypse to see in action.

Watch it fly below: