Aaron Wypyszynski first envisioned his eponymously named WYP Wingboard while watching Disney Talespin's Kit Cloudkicker as a child. The cuddly bear flew around on a wakeboard in the sky. Aaron, who was always interested in airplanes and aviation (he was a pilot by age 12), wanted to fly like Kit. After being turned down as an Air Force pilot because he was too tall, he became an aviation engineer. Throughout the years, the vision of the WYP Wingboard stayed with him. Now that the product is close to becoming a reality, he hopes a Shark will help with funding when he pitches the idea in the season 9 premier.
The WYP Wingboard concept is simple: tow a “wakeboard” behind an airplane and get the sensation of truly flying. Making the concept work is a whole different ballgame. Currently, Aaron has a full-size prototype in the works. He tested 1/6 scale models successfully and now wants real people to try the wingboard. At first, he'll test in a wind tunnel, then he hopes to have someone fly behind a real plane!
The Wyp Wingboard is far away from becoming a viable product. There's still a lot of testing to conduct and a lot of tweaking the ever developing prototype. Even when it IS a real product, the market niche will be small. Wind tunnels cost a lot of money to rent, so testing is expensive. He likely wants a Shark's cash to help get him through the critical prototype phase.
My Take on the WYP Wingboard
When I first saw this, one word came to mind: NOPE! There is no way in hell I would ever wakeboard behind an airplane in flight. This looks like something out of a James Bond movie. Yes it looks very cool, but NOPE.
I'm sure there are a lot of extreme sports enthusiasts itching to try this out. Those guys who jump off mountains in flight suits are good candidates for testing the prototype. They're already nuts, so they pass the first hurdle for test dummies. I can't imagine this will be an affordable product, plus you need access to a plane to use it, so the market potential is very small. The WYP Wingboard may be one of the cooler products to jump in the Tank, but I will pass.
Will it Fly with the Sharks?
All the Sharks will say “wow,” but an investment is unlikely. Imagine Lori trying to sell this on QVC! Even Robert, the “adventurous” Shark will likely take a pass. The reason WYP doesn't get a deal is there is so far to go before this is a real product and when it is done, the market is too small.
The only prayer WYP has is if Sir Richard Branson takes a flyer because he thinks it's cool. Branson is an extreme sports nut and he owns several airplanes. He also owns an airline. Imagine “wingboard class” on Virgin Airways! Branson's involvement is still a long shot. I don't think WYP gets a deal, but if they do, it'll be with Sir Richard.