Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

The 70 kg US$39,000 FlyNano Electric Microlight

By

April 15, 2011

An artist's impression of the FlyNano at play

An artist's impression of the FlyNano at play

Image Gallery (6 images)

Finnish aeronautical engineer Aki Suokas launched a remarkable new single-seat aircraft this week at Aero Friedrichshafen. The FlyNano is made entirely of carbon fiber composite, lands and takes off on water, and weighs just 70 kilograms ready to fly. Three variants are available: a 20kW electric-only version, and petrol-engined 24 bhp and 35 bhp models, the latter proposed as a racing version. The Flynano tops out at over 140 km/h, with a service ceiling of 3 km. If you think that's remarkable, the most expensive of the three variants ex-factory and ex-VAT is just EUR 27,000 (US$39,000) and deliveries begin three months from now.

The FlyNano's wingspan is nearly five meters, it has a maximum take off weight of 200 kg and it has a speed range of 70 km/h to 140 km/h. FlyNano's true airspeed is about 140 km/h at 75% power with a theoretical operational distance of 70 kilometers.

The almost exclusive use of carbon fiber has enabled the Flynano to come in at under the magic 70 kg weight limit which determines how a new plane is legally classified. In this class in most jurisdictions, there's no license required and a minimum of red tape. Of course there's no passenger and no luggage, but it already rates as a breakthrough in aviation cost-performance.

Though the electric version has a limited range of 40 kilometers, the low speed torque and minimal vibration of the electric motor enables the low-speed four-blade prop to be whisper quiet, ensuring you'll get no complaints from the neighbors.

A transferable buy option will get you a place in the 2011 delivery queue at EUR 900 (US$1300), with 30% payable on delivery confirmation and the remainder prior to delivery. There's also an optional purpose-built trailer and storage box for the Flynano which retails for EUR 5,300 (US$7,700).

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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32 Comments

OMG. Jetskis and now this. I want one. I trust myself it's just I don't trust all the other b.....s out there. Mayhem.

Andrew Kennedy
15th April, 2011 @ 03:07 am PDT

Extraordinary CLAIMS (weight/power/performance/delivery date) by a 'company' that shows only 'artist conceptions' drawings. No VIDEO of a FLYING craft, or even a PICTURE of a completed prototype; but they are SELLING 'options' to BUY.

Sounds too good to be TRUE; perhaps a little more 'journalistic research' is due, before touting this revolutionary 'AIRCRAFT'!!!!!!!

Until they show someone actually willing to 'risk their life', AND flying this thing; they won't get any of my money!

Roger W.
15th April, 2011 @ 04:41 am PDT

I just hope for the guy in the pictures sake, that none of the propeller blades ever breaks off.

Emery Temple
15th April, 2011 @ 08:44 am PDT

Roger, it's being shown at Friedrichshafen this week:

http://www.eaa.org/news/2011/2011-04-14_aero.asp

schmoe90
15th April, 2011 @ 10:33 am PDT

@roger w

http://www.gizmag.com/flynano-microlight-aircraft/18411/picture/133136/

Picture #3 in the article - fullscale version.....

Chris Maresca
15th April, 2011 @ 11:11 am PDT

@ Roger W: Speaking of doing your research... here's a photo of a completed prototype. http://www.gizmag.com/flynano-microlight-aircraft/18411/picture/133136/

Matt Dana
15th April, 2011 @ 11:42 am PDT

Tiny propeller, or is that just for the display model?

Wombat56
15th April, 2011 @ 05:31 pm PDT

Can we take a break from beating up roger for a moment? I did appreciate the article and I think it is perfectly valid to be skeptical of the claims. I too would like a video of it at least moving on the ground. The article claims "deliveries begin three months from now".. I am sorry but I couldn't figure out the name of the company or a website for them.

I was very confused about the article. I mean its cool, but why talk about price and delivery dates.. If this posted 2 weeks ago it clearly would of been an april fools joke..

Michael Mantion
15th April, 2011 @ 06:11 pm PDT

http://www.flynano.com/

I found their website, almost no information. I have to wonder if this is some scam? Make a prototype that doesn't actually do anything, take deposits on orders, maybe find some suckers to invest in the company and then run with the money.

Michael Mantion
15th April, 2011 @ 09:32 pm PDT

Sorry, sure didn't see that photo at 04:41 PDT this morning (probably before my morning coffee). The 'operable' word is "shown at Friedrichshafen", not FLOWN; since their Maiden Flight is not even scheduled for several weeks yet (according to an EAA article)

"The maiden flight is planned in a few weeks."

http://www.eaa.org/news/2011/2011-04-14_aero.asp

Sounds a bit 'fishy', since they state they will be making deliveries in three months, and are taking 'options to purchase' for %u20AC900 on their website, already....without an actual manned flight.

Roger W.
15th April, 2011 @ 09:58 pm PDT

No flaps visible on the thing, but an interesting configuration that looks to be quite stable... the semi-biplane config shoud be extremely strong and light. 70 kmh landing speed seems pretty high; but thats the price for a high top speed. Looks like it would work pretty well in ground effect too....like a semi ekranoplane.

Jonathan Colvin
16th April, 2011 @ 12:49 am PDT

The shape of the plane and wings is exactly that of a model airplane that

was displayed at the NYC Toy Fair three years ago. One version was a "toss" model and another was a RC electric. I wish I could remember the

name and website.

derfall
16th April, 2011 @ 01:06 pm PDT

all carbon for $ 40.000?

24 bhp and waterstart?

aerodynamically very critic boxwing design?

no floats at wings?

no license needed?

under 70kg weight?

this all seems to be more of an science fiction comic, than reality...

Suvilo
18th April, 2011 @ 04:52 am PDT

Hmmm....water landings low wing no wing floats inexperienced pilots...are going to make for crashes. And HOPE no one is inadequately secured and gets ejected and thrown into that propeller!

SoundsGr8toMe
18th April, 2011 @ 08:28 am PDT

I subscribed to a couple ultralight aircraft magazines in the mid eighties. A guy in Australia built an ultralight very similar in concept to this and supposedly it worked great. I've casually looking for more information about it and him for years now. It would carry him, a friend and their scuba gear out to the great barrier reef and back. That would be awesome. If anyone knows anything about this please post.

Thanks!

royale455@yahoo.com
18th April, 2011 @ 08:54 am PDT

I would suspect that they need the money to continue testing.. ordinarily it's NOT wise to collect orders on something that hasn't been tested in full-scale.. I can't afford it right now, but if i could, i would look at it as investment in a great idea that *might*, i repeat *might* provide exceptional return in the not too distant future.. The return is obvious.. what commuter wouldn't love to have this.. especially over here in B.C. on the gulf islands.. good bye ferries!!

sgdeluxedoc
18th April, 2011 @ 10:10 am PDT

There are so many things wrong with this article and the artist's impression, I don't know where to begin. First, this looks like the most dangerous design I have ever seen for a water launched craft. At a 70 kg weight including engine and fuel or batteries there would be almost zero protection in a crash. Catching a wingtip on the water during a low altitude turn would be fatal. Without wing tip floats a small wave would likely shear off a wing during takeoff or landing. A slight cross wind on takeoff or landing would be a disaster. The electric and lower horsepower models could not even reach takeoff speed on water unless you went over a waterfall. A similar design beefed up to 110kg. and on wheels might be possible but not this pipe dream as advertised. Delivery in three months? A $1300 buy option? I don't think so. This looks like a total con job.

Bob
18th April, 2011 @ 08:38 pm PDT

Has anyone done the Chicken test on this thing?

I used to ride a motorbike when I was younger and know that a bee hitting you at speed feels like being shot..

What happens when a bird hits the fan err propeller or the person sitting just under it?

It does look more like a con than a toy of the future.

Facebook User
19th April, 2011 @ 07:52 am PDT

@Andrew Kennedy Your comment was too funny, "first the Jet ski, and now this". Funny because I designed the original Samba (search Gizmag: Samba PWC). It was a media darling because it worked, Science Channel, E-Zines, Mags, and a lot of websites. Someone stole the idea from us and tried to promote a 'ghost' product. An electric Jet Ski with a pod for a jet pump assembly. It was totally fictitious with unproven statements. For instance, the 'pod' idea would not work on a jet ski. I have been developing the next gen concept which resolves many of the originals shortcomings, and trust me, it is not the far flung BS of the rogue design.

But this idea is especially important, it is a slick unconventional design that warrants development beyond 'proof of concept'

Great concept guys, look forward to hearing more.....

Drifter
19th April, 2011 @ 09:33 am PDT

The FlyNano wing design is not new. The LEGETI design first flew in the 1980s.

Though being Electric would be real cool !.

John M

John M
19th April, 2011 @ 12:33 pm PDT

This is exactly what we don't need. These are like ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles in the sky. We already have enough problem with drunken idiots zooming all over the landscape at high speeds in ground vehicles. This will be far worse. Right over your house. You have no control of your air space. At least on the ground they are trespassing and you can theoretically stop them.

Walter Jeffries
20th April, 2011 @ 01:11 pm PDT

I have questions on stability - not flight stability - but on the water.

The engine (and a lot of the weight) is up high. When this thing is on the water and the pilot gets out, there is a good chance that it will be top heavy. A good breeze will likely dump a wing into the water. This could also happen with a lighter pilot during takeoff & landing - which could be fatal.

That, along with extremely sparse information that shows that it will ACTUALLY FLY, leads me to believe this doesn't pass the smell test.

phydeaux
21st April, 2011 @ 07:14 am PDT

OK, ok....let's clear the air! Maybe it HASN'T been actually flight-tested to date, however, that doesn't automatically brand these guys as perpetraters of a scam. Too often, those individuals who innovate are crushed by naysayers, press and media before their efforts have been given a fair evaluation. It IS difficult to find venture capitol prior to proving a new concept. I'm a concept-development-engineer as well as a past manufacturer of various flying contraptions. I understand precicely what they are going through with having financial limiting issues. I feel reasonably certain that this group IS in earnest about their INTENT and are needing to offer a sort of pre-production sales opportunity to a small number of participants willing to take a calculated leap-of-faith while increasing the potential for successful product development and sales fulfillment. If past designers of products NEVER took a chance with their ideas, we would be lucky today to even have carts fitted with square wheels.

pgmcats
21st April, 2011 @ 06:28 pm PDT

Check out their facebook group (link to this on the above linked web site) - lots more current info there. Flight videos to be up once the ice on the finnish lakes melts!! Come on down to the perfect weather in Oz to test fly...at least one pilot here waiting to risk his life!

Andrew Cox
27th April, 2011 @ 09:48 pm PDT

This is cool.

Gonna get one as soon it's possible :)

Turgenus
29th April, 2011 @ 06:24 am PDT

The wing concept dates back to 1987 or earlier! World Expo 1988 exhibited a flying wheeled version. It's home airport was the small Airport South of Broardmeadows, Melbourne! Not suggesting that this waterborne version would suffer in the same way but I visited and talked with the deceased creators wife! He had died (head injury) when it flipped on take off! In the case of that craft, I understood that the reason (for the flip) was suggested as being suction behind the pilots seat and change of angle and therefore lift on the nose during takeoff! The seat was molded in and the body was necked in sudenly behind the pilots back!

innov8ive
6th May, 2011 @ 07:00 am PDT

Front mounted props on microlights aren't new. At the velocity the blades are traveling, any breakage would result in the blades being thrown directly outwards, not back into the pilot. There are numerous designs of light plane that use this layout, it's considered safe. As to whether it'll ever see the light of day at this price, I doubt it, but I wish him luck.

Jason Catterall
27th May, 2011 @ 10:06 pm PDT

Due to the projected landing/stall speed, this will not qualify as an ultralight in the United States under FAR Part 103. It should easily qualify for the light-sport category, but a license is needed.

On a different note, this is a very cute plane and hope to see it for real. I might just even want one. Also, the design looks scaleable, so a 2-seater and even 4-seater would be possible, as well as amphibious variants. I do hope this is a real attempt at creating a real plane that real people can purchase and safely operate, and not some money making scam like Moller with the Skycar (how many millions has he bilked from investors over the decades?)

I want one!

chopperdanny13
13th June, 2011 @ 01:19 pm PDT

Very cute, but i really question the specs on this as the batteries needed for that kind of sustained flight would be quite heavy.... Even more than the 70kg touted as the total weight of the vehicle. I will believe it when I see it!!

Ben Snowden
28th August, 2012 @ 12:30 pm PDT

If you check their website [http://flynano.com/] you will find video of maiden flight. Please note that it does not achieve real flight but relies on ground effect for lift. Any more than a couple of meters of altitude was not achieved. They put it down to lack of power but much more likely a lack of wing area. Sure, if you throw anything fast enough it will fly but wing area as small as it is, I doubt it can "really fly" at anything below 50 mph. I also doubt [like many others] the claims about 70 kg weight. Is it using watch batteries?

Pretty sad excuse that testing can't be done [yet they claim to have taken money from 35 suckers who expected delivery in June, 2011] because the lakes are frozen. Seems it will be useless in Finland as window of opportunity to fly is almost non-existent. Can't transport to the real world for testing?

How about they forget their airy fairy electric version, slap a 80/100 hp Rotax to it and see if it will fly? The Rotax works on 250 kg [empty] aircraft giving well over 80 mph top speed.

If you want to see what he copied it from [less water] see

http://www.lgtaerospace.com and check out Stratos that actually flew [video there]

Also gives a rather different account of designer's death in prototype 2 seater version.

As an Australian who has messed about with planes [and boats] for 40 years, I have never heard about the Australian who created something similar that was used for he and mate to go scuba diving as reported in earlier comment. No media here ever reported it.

Rob K
13th March, 2013 @ 06:41 pm PDT

The high propeller would tend to make the craft pitch nose down it seems.

ezeflyer
29th July, 2014 @ 02:04 pm PDT

The prop might be more efficient as a pusher, it definitely be harder to stick a finger in anyway. Why no wheels? I'd prefer to land on lawn than a lake or a river - harder to drown on a lawn! Lastly, I'd like the option for whole-airplane parachute.

Grunchy
14th August, 2014 @ 01:54 pm PDT
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