Advertisement
more top stories »

Personal Flight


— Aircraft

NASA competition offers green challenge for air travel

As we've seen with the ongoing X-Prize model, competitions can be a great way to provide incentive for technological advancements in transport. While the latest example, the Lunar X Prize, has its sight set on the heavens, NASA is running a competition with objectives a little closer to the ground. The Green Flight Challenge is enticing creative types with a USD$1.5 million prize in which designers need to create an aircraft that is low cost, quiet, has a short take-off, is 'road worthy' and gets excellent passenger-miles per gallon. Read More
— Aircraft

Entecho's Hoverpod: the 3-seat, skirt-steered, 75mph VTOL flying saucer

We continue to be optimistic about the future of personal flight - and from flying cars to coaxial flying platforms, ion-powered jetpacks and more recreational solutions, plenty of innovative designs are striving for viability. We haven't seen anything like this one before though - Entecho has come up with an operating prototype of a sort of cylindrical fan-forced flying saucer, steered by directing the downward airflow through a flexible skirt that allows easy directional control. The blades are not exposed and move reasonably slowly, it's stable in flight and the system is remarkably simple from a mechanical point of view. It's also quite simple to fly using a joystick controller. Totally VTOL and with a small footprint, perhaps the Entecho Hoverpod might deliver as a practical and affordable personal flight solution. Read More
— Aircraft

AeroQuad: the foldable, self-stabilizing VTOL personal flying platform

We've written before about the nifty flying carpet-style PAM Individual Lifting Vehicle - now it seems there's another self-stabilizing coaxial dual-rotor flying platform on the way. The AN-1 AeroQuad, from Spain's Aeris Naviter, boasts all the key advantages of the PAM VTOL platform - it's as easy to pilot as a Segway, it'll fly for up to 5 hours, and happily hover at 20-30 feet with a maximum payload of 200kg - making it very handy for crop spraying, firefighting, aerial photography, lifeguarding, rescue and border control in mountainous areas. The AeroQuad moves forward from the PAM design, though, in that it comes in both land- or water-based configurations, and either one is able to fold up after use to a size so small you only need a half-trailer to transport it. Read More
— Aircraft

Water-propelled jetpack: could this be the one?

We're nearly 10 years into the new millennium, and the stark reality facing science fiction fans is that we STILL don't have an affordable jetpack. Promising technologies like this ion-propelled, remotely-powered unit seem to pop up from time to time, but nothing materializes on the market. The guys at JetPack International have built a beauty of a machine that does exactly what you'd hope - but at USD$200,000 it's still way out of reach for most people. This one might not be, though. It's propelled by super-fast jets of water pumped up through a tube that connects the jetpack to an engine that sits under the surface of a body of water. By tethering the flyer to the ground, this device is able to vastly reduce the weight of the flying apparatus by leaving all the heavy fuel and engine components behind, and since you're flying around above the surface of the water, you've got a much softer landing if you fall. Most importantly, the device looks like exactly as much fun as you'd hope, and because there's nothing too complicated to it, we can't see it costing much more than a jet-ski if it goes into production. Excellent! Read More
— Aircraft

Moller International's M200G Jetson flying vehicle goes on sale in 2009

July 20, 2008 As the rate of technological advances continues at an astonishing pace there’s probably one question that gets asked more than any other by the average person in the street – or the average person stuck in traffic anyway - why don’t we have flying cars yet? Well the simple answer is that developing a flying car is hard. But the long wait for the solution to car clogged streets could be coming to an end with Moller International announcing that it is in the process of completing its fourth M200 “Jetson” volantor airframe and it expects to complete forty of these fly-by-wire, multi-engine flying vehicles in 2009. Read More
— Aircraft

The Parajet Skycar: Britain's zero-carbon flying dune buggy aims for Timbouctou

July 14, 2008 The race is well and truly on to develop a functional flying car, and innovators around the world are finding several different ways to accommodate the needs of a road-registerable flying vehicle. The Moller Skycar and Cell Craft G440 use complicated quad-turbine tilting jet engines to achieve VTOL and flight capability. The Terrafugia Transition and Skyblazer roadable aircraft have decided to go for a folding-wing convertible aeroplane design, and Larry Neal's Super Sky Cycle is a simple and cheap modification that turns a standard, safe gyroplane into a road-going trike. And now there's the Parajet Skycar, a Yamaha R1-engined, biodiesel-powered all-terrain dune buggy that's capable of extremely safe flight as a powered paraglider. The Skycar Expedition team plan to take the eye-catching vehicle from London to Timbouctou in 2009, using a combination of flight and driving to battle the tough Saharan terrain. There's a commuter model in the pipeline - and you won't need a pilot's license to fly it. Read More
— Aircraft

Sportcopter Super Sport Gyroplane set to launch – bridging the gap between plane and helicopter

January 6, 2008 Simple to build, easy to fly, faster than helicopters and arguably safer than anything else in the sky: gyroplanes are a long-overlooked segment of the personal aviation industry, but as innovators like Sportcopter bring the entry price down to family car levels, these fun little aircraft are finally starting to get some of the popularity they deserve. Sportcopter's highly anticipated Super Sport is currently undergoing flight testing - a roomy, weatherproof, fully enclosed twin-seater with space for cargo and a full set of controls and instrumentation for each seat, making it an ideal training craft, the agile little gyroplane is powered by a 2.5 litre Subaru engine producing 190hp and propelling it to well over 100mph with a range of between 300 and 400 miles. Read More
— Aircraft

Sky-high designs for a flying car

Nearly eight years into the 21st century and we still don't have flying cars… frankly, it's disgraceful. No point complaining about it though - while Dr. Paul Moller continues development of the intriguing and exciting M400 Skycar, others around the world are also working to turn the cogs that will set the personal flight revolution in motion. One of them is Italian Gino d'Ignazio Gizio, a helicopter pilot and designer whose Cell Craft designs are reminiscent of the Skycar with a few touches of his own. Read More
— Aircraft

PAM's Individual Lifting Vehicle: the dual-rotor flying carpet

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 traveler, 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. Read More
— Aircraft

Cessna inundated with demand for new SkyCatcher

Own your own brand new Cessna for a touch over a hundred grand – it’s an offer many are finding too good to refuse. The Cessna SkyCatcher Light Sports Aircraft seems to be the right product at the right time – the all-metal, high-wing twin-seater monoplane is easy to fly (or learn to fly), very good looking and at a price point that's within a wallet’s stretch for aviation fans. Plus it has one of the most trusted names in aviation written down the side. Perhaps this is why it’s been selling like crazy since its July launch with the company now reporting orders for more than 850 aircraft. Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement