FlyNano achieves first test flight


June 15, 2012

The FlyNano prototype, at Finland's Lake Hepari

The FlyNano prototype, at Finland's Lake Hepari

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Last April, we told you about the FlyNano – a single-occupant petrol/electric microlight amphibious aircraft being developed by a Finnish aeronautical firm of the same name. At the time, some readers expressed skepticism, rightly pointing out that there was no video of the plane actually flying. That changed this week, however, as the company posted a video of one of the prototype’s first test flights.

The flight in the video reportedly took place this Monday at 8:09pm, at Finland’s Lake Hepari. There’s currently no information posted about how long the flight lasted or what altitude was reached – we’ve contacted FlyNano for details, and are still waiting for a response.

When we last reported on the aircraft, deliveries were expected to start around July of last year. The company has now moved that date up to the end of 2013, and has apparently already presold 35 planes – they are priced at approximately €27,000 (US$34,164).

Additionally, FlyNano has stated that thanks to advances in batteries and electric motors, the carbon fiber-bodied aircraft will now be primarily electric – originally, both combustion and electric models were planned.

The video can be viewed below.

Source: FlyNano via CAFE Foundation

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Looks really cool and reasonably priced. Hopefully it will actually come to market. Is there any reason it's amphibious only? Seems like that significantly limits your options for takeoff and landing. I'd like to hear what kind of range and altitude they expect.

Morgan Jones

Well the VIDEO 'clip' (just a few seconds) does show that it can get airborne; but does little to demonstrate that it is a safe flying machine.

Roger W.

I've never seen so little in a video. What was it airborne for 20 seconds at a height of 20 feet?

Watch it again—it's ridiculous!


I'm not sure if having propeller backwash blowing into your face would be a good experience.


Is it truly amphibious operating off both land and water or just a flying boat?


Vapor project. What are they afraid of... tell us the facts, if there are any.

S Michael

Too cool - and I agree w/Morgan, why amphibious?

Todd Dunning

I love the idea of a 70kg aircraft not requiring a pilot's license, and within this price range. The 70 km range is way too limited.


Are there any lightweight sun cells to make a solar rechargable version thereby extending the range beyond 70kms?


This craft is not "amphibious" - which means using land or water - it is a flying boat. No undercarriage saves weight, complexity, and maintenance - and therefore keeps the price down. I should think that if they sell well, then they would consider an amphibious version in the future. looks fun anyway!

Jonathan Jenkins

It exploits what is known as ground-effect, so no more than the wingspan of the plane. It is amphibious because over land it can't stop to behave properly like a car, but on the water, it is just another boat.


@morgan: I'm no expert, but the short wings reminds me of other planes taking advantage of the ground effect, which means it has to fly low, over a smooth surface, preferably water


Since a dry land ultralight would need a short strip of land that is free of traffic, an amphibious lander might actually be less limited. There are lots of large, slow flowing rivers, lakes and coasts (on calm days) around but airstrips are rather less common. It certainly would reduce the isolation of remote places within certain areas of Russia, Canada and such. I could easily see a terrestrial version being made though, if the market favored it.

Snake Oil Baron

The video shows it flying very low. If this is using the ground effect for extra lift it would not be as useful as I had envisioned. Or they may have been keeping it low for regulatory reasons.

Snake Oil Baron

This is the very first flight, so it makes sense the pilot wouldn't have been instructed to fly high, but rather just get a feel for the aircraft at a minimal distance above water, for safety reasons. Yes, ground effect would contribute to its lifting performance since it will contribute extra lift when close from the compression of air underneath the wings, but they would most likely have been much more interested in just seeing how the craft behaves in the pitch (up/down) environment first. Further tests will go higher as confidence is gained. Test flights are always potentially lethal, because no one has ever flown the aircraft anywhere before. By the way, look at the video, when it first lifts off, to see either PIO (Pitch Induced Oscillation) or pitch instability (may not be balanced properly around the center of gravity).

Jim Lawrence

looks like a single seat Ekranoplan (Ground Effect Vehicle) judging from the wing design and size! cool toy for on the lake or hugging the coastline! i think id prefer the ICON A5, but i guess you might not need a aviators licence for a ekranoplan hence why its quite cheap too


No, it's not an Ekranoplan. The wing design is very different in a ground effect design - they typically have a very different aspect ratio to this design. Ground effect aircraft have a much greater chord to try and trap the air between the wing and water.

I'd agree with the comments above - it was slow, straight and a very limited altitude. All aircraft start their test programme taking baby steps - for the safety of the test pilot as well as the airframe.

I think it is a wonderful concept - light, efficient and shows great promise. Extra range will incur a weight penalty, greater MTOW means more structural weight which requires larger engines which adds more weight etc. Before long you end up with a 747.

Marc 1

Looks like a very badly designed Ground Effect Craft to me.. Very unstable in the few seconds of flight that can be seen. Also, who thought of putting the prop right in front of the pilot in an open cabin? It's probably to do with weight distribution and force moment exerted, but it sure doesn't look very comfy or safe. I do wish them the best of luck with getting it into production. A 70kg craft sounds like a market that is begging to be tapped into!

Paul Dutch

Do any of you guys remember early bi-planes with their open cockpits? They all had the propeller at the front. The pilot wore goggles. If this plane is ground effect, it won't be too good to use in the open sea. Wave height would cause instability.


This craft clearly doesn't fly but glide in ground effect.

It's obvious that it is strongly underpowered.

Its design has aerodynamical disadvantages, too. The boxwing is very unstable and difficult to control.

There was a boxwing ultralight aircraft in the 80s. Called "Sunny". It had a design which did not allow any changes, because it only flew in the existing configuration. And it was dependend on the flexible and twisting structure.

I don't think the nanofly will ever become a safe and real flying object.

Too many issues with starting (waves and no waves are a problem), engine is too weak, structure can't handle the needed power and the generated vibrations, controlling the direction of glide is nearly impossible, position of pilot is dangerous to life (prop and engine near head of pilot).

There is still a long, long way to go.

But: good luck to nanofly, it looks interesting and worth the work!


I have to agree with Paul Dutch above, it looks as if it might be a reasonably efficient Ground Effect Craft, or Ekranoplan, with some "zoom" capability, but .......the more I look at that video, the more I see a model. I feel they need to be more convincing than that if they want to be taken seriously. May be the next video will make me eat my words! I hope so.

Mike Hallett

re; orions_haven

The propeller was spinning at a rpm that put the blades in the same place every time an image was taken by the camera. You can get the same effect live by using a strobe light.


I have seen a device called a hoverwing that is a cross between a hover craft and airplane that flies over water in ground effect. I still need to see a video of this craft flying because in this video it appears to "hop" but seeing is believing and I'm did not see sustained flight here not even in ground effect.


Reading the title, I was hoping it was a submersible that could also fly. Seaplane? Shrug.


Anyone else notice that in the first view of it fly, the propeller didn't seem to be moving?

Whats with that?


Looks like it wallows a bit on takeoff. And the wings and tip pods sit quite low in relationship to the water, which could make for challenging operations on any kind of rough water. In all, the super-light single occupant scheme might be fine for testing. But for marketing, two place and wheeled would be preferable in my opinion.

It's not a ground effect boat at all. Those that think it is are not real bright because if it was, it wouldn't have a top wing. As a WIGE, boat, EV designer and builder it's a very nice design done well it seems with the box wing design should be nice and stable. Saying only landing on water limits landing places isn't right either. Water is most of the earth's surface giving far more and safer than landing on land. My only problem is why electric? In such a small plane electric just isn't cost or weight effective. And I drive my EV's every day. Triple it's size and then EV becomes more viable. jerryd

I love the design idea, but no way did it accelerate first onto the step out of its own bow wake, and then off the water with that electric motor. It is going far faster than in the other videos, and was obviously towed into the air. This is the reason for the short videos not showing the start of the take off run. In any seaplane, achieving the first 10 to 15 knots to get up on the step requires the most power; the power can be reduced by 1/3 at that point and the aircraft will still accelerate to lift off. Many seaplanes need expensive and heavy constant speed props just to get the first 10 knots. FLYNANO is not being candid by releasing such a misleading video. David


It's in ground effect because the amount of power needed to "fly" is a lot less than true flight. IMO, it's underpowered for its cannot carry enough battery to sustain a larger motor, IMO. As any homebuilder can tell you, yes you test fly in stages, but within a couple of weeks, you're at 1000 ft. The fact they are not, and there's no real hurry to only publish a "first flight", indicates to me that they are having some serious power to weight problems that they can't fix without impacting range or flight time. All IMO.


Assuming that it was in fact designed as an airplane not a GEV (Ground Effect Vehicle) the fact that it freed itself from the water proves that it has adequate power for flight.


make a 100% combustion model and I am in.. who wants to lug around batteries..

Michael Mantion

Wow! With all these knowledgable commenters on here, why aren't more things being achieved instead of just being criticized?

At least they've lifted off.

That puts them somewhere between the Wright Brothers and the Spruce Goose.

The Bell X-1 rocket plane originally only increase speed by 0.02 Mach PER FLIGHT.

In 1947, Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin, Bell Test Pilot, wanted a $150,000 bonus for breaking the Sound Barrier PLUS additional hazardous duty pay for EVERY minute over 0.85 Mach.

The USAF took over at that point and Captain Chuck Yeager requested (and received) only his normal duty pay to become the first man to break the Sound Barrier.

"Slick" Goodlin never did get to break the Sound Barrier- He later considered flying on the Concorde but said it was too expensive!

So, let's wait and see some more video before we get out the axe, shall we?

Unless some of you are willing and capable of volunteering for duty as a test pilot or can and WILL build something better, maybe you should examine your comments and honestly ask yourself if you even know what you are looking at and how valid your comments even are....

Will YOU ever actually attempt to build something AND bring it to the worldwide market?


So its a really small bi-plane that lands on water. The styling is innovative, at least.

Kumi Alexander

The best solution that won't fail in most scenarios if not all Is to build an actual aircraft not to aviation standards But close enough to be safe and restricted to flying only a few feet above waves, why? Because unlike an Ekranoplan it doesn't need ground effect, its easier to fly and can take bigger sea states, yet still have the advantage of ground effect. And you don't need a Pilot license. Just a little training and you have your own aircraft! Almost. The advantages would be tremendous. Better than this for sure. Ekranoplans will never ever have a big future.


1) a wing - correct... box wing of small scope 2) a way of take-off - not correct it is necessary to fly up on an airbag. 3) the propeller is located ahead it it is wrong... the propeller should be behind, and be enclosed by a casing


here the correct decision for fast and easy take-off from water

optimum configuration "airplane box-wing-in-ground on the airbag chassis"

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