December 7, 2007 While most of us think of the personal flight revolution as something that will transform a-to-b transport and commuting in our everyday life, others are looking at ways to use existing technology for specific purposes that can go to market immediately. PAM group's Individual Lifting Vehicle (ILV) is an intuitive flying platform that's roughly as easy to pilot as a Segway, shifting your weight as you stand right above the twin propellers. It's not a distance traveller, more of a compact levitation device designed for crop spraying, aerial movie videography, search and rescue and other short-range, low-altitude applications. With a theoretical maximum speed of around 60mph, the ILV could be a very effective tool within its design parameters.
PAM Group's ILV is lifted by a counter-rotating rotor system powered by twin Hirth F-30 4-cylinder, 105 horsepower engines. As a safety fall-back measure, either engine is fully capable of powering both rotors in the event one engine fails.
The rotors are over 9 feet in length, and spin on an axis directly underneath the platform the pilot stands on. This arrangement allows pilots to steer the ILV simply by leaning and shifting their bodyweight, while the natural physical act of balancing the body acts to stabilize the platform in the air.
The IAV is the brainchild of entrepreneur friends Bob Pegg and Clem Makowski, who built both the business and the prototypes themselves after beginning the project together in 1989. Sadly, Makowski recently passed away at the age of 70 – the fact that he was flying the ILV as recently as March this year serves as a testament both to his piloting ability and the easy-to-operate nature of the ILV, says Pegg.
Safety-wise, apart from the ability to run on only one engine, the company plans to offer a ballistic parachute as an option. The structure itself is designed to withstand high impact speeds – but it's unclear whether that's very healthy for the pilot when it hits the ground. Either way, the ILV is probably best used at a hovering height of 20-30 feet, so it's not the most dangerous device around.
While the ILV currently requires a basic pilot's license to fly, the company is examining having it approved for sport pilot certificate holders, making it much easier for prospective owners to get licensed.
The PAM 200 ILV will be introduced in the USA as a kit with a price of approximately US$50,000.