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Personal Flight

— Urban Transport

8 forward-thinking vehicles to propel us into 2016

The continued minituarization of electronics, advances in materials technology, a growing emphasis on clean, sustainable modes of transport and imaginative thinkers with out-of-the-box ideas have converged to give us some truly audacious vehicle designs over the past 12 months. Some are certainly more practical than others, but from personal tricopters to amphibious motorcycles this new breed of personal mobility solutions offers a tantalizing glimpse into how we might be getting from A to B in the future. As we head into a new year with new possibilities, let's take a look at some that could have a role to play in shaping the future of transport.

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— Aircraft

Students create a human-carrying multicopter

This year, we've seen a number of important developments in the race to bring personal flyers to market. A team of flying enthusiasts from Hungary took to the skies in a proof of concept tricopter named Flike in March, Malloy Aeronautics announced plans to develop its Hoverbike for the US Department of Defense at the Paris Air Show in June, and the JB-9 made its maiden flight around the Statue of Liberty just last month. Now a team of students from Singapore has joined the fray with a battery electric multicopter called Snowstorm that's being designed for recreational flying.

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— Aircraft Feature

JB-9 jetpack makes spectacular debut flying around Statue of Liberty

The dream of personal flight took a great leap forward last week as Jetpack Aviation unveiled its JB-9 jetpack in spectacular fashion. Lifting off from a boat, inventor and aviator David Mayman flew the powerful, agile JB-9 around the Statue of Liberty, pausing to salute and pirouette before touching back down. Running on kerosene and using two vectored jet engines, the JB-9 can reach high speeds and altitudes and offers a flight time over 10 minutes, depending on pilot weight. We spoke at length with Mayman to discover how the JB-9 works and how long it'll be before we can buy one.

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— Aircraft

Google partners with NASA to sponsor Green Flight Challenge

Whether you view Google as a benevolent Internet overlord or the new 'Evil Empire', there’s no arguing that the search giant at least devotes some of its squazillions towards environmentally beneficial causes. Earlier this year the company invested US$168 million in what will be the world’s largest solar power tower plant and now it has partnered with NASA to sponsor the Green Flight Challenge that offers a prize purse of $1.65 million for the design of quiet, practical and energy-efficient aircraft. Read More
— Urban Transport

EU project looks to the future of personal air transport

A European Union project known as myCopter has set aside funds of €4.2 million (US$6.2m) to investigate the possibility of introducing Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) into the skyways of many congested European cities. This coming age of the "flying car" where vehicles leave the roads and launch into the skies promises to solve problems like dramatically rising urban traffic congestion, but it also throws up some formidable challenges - it's these challenges that the myCopter project aims to address. Read More
— Aircraft

Water-propelled Jetlev-Flyer personal jetpack set for release

We first came across the water-propelled jetpack early in 2009 and since then the company has changed its name to Jetlev Technologies and teamed up with German company MS Watersports GmbH to get the machine to market. Now the first JetLev R200 jetpacks are set to hit the water, and while it won't let you beat traffic on your daily commute – unless your home and workplace are conveniently located along the same body of water – it does look like a whole lot of fun. Read More
— Aircraft

Jetman goes loop-the-loop

Switzerland’s Yves Rossy, better known as Jetman or Fusionman, has achieved another aviation first by performing two aerial loops using his unique jet-powered strap-on wing. Rossy made headlines in 2004, when he first achieved horizontal flight with his original carbon fiber wing, flying 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) over the Alps. He created an even bigger fuss in 2008, when he used his wing to fly across the English Channel. Then, just last year, he got a bit wet when he unsuccessfully tried to fly from Morocco to Spain. Now, however, he can add another success to his growing list. Read More
— Aircraft

The Martin Jetpack

It's been a long time coming. While Arthur C. Clarke's satellites have taken to space, and James Bond's futuristic mobile technology has become common place, still the legend of Icarus has captivated us and the dream of sustained personal flight has eluded us. But the future is here! Finally we can all take flight as Martin Aircraft in New Zealand releases the first commercially-available jet pack! Read More
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