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Personal Flight

— Aircraft

Eclipse Aviation begins production of its landmark Very Light Jet (VLJ)

By - March 31, 2006 25 Pictures
April 1, 2006 The dream of Eclipse Aviation ‘s Vern Raburn has long been to bring the word "personal" into aviation, by building an affordable very-light jet , enabling commercial air passengers to move directly between cities and allowing pilot owners to enter the world of jet-powered aviation. Earlier this month production commenced on the first of 2350 Eclipse 500 jet that have been ordered with non-refundable deposits – more than US$3 billion worth of orders. Output is booked to 2010, although there are some delivery slots for new orders from the third quarter of 2008. Most significantly, nearly one third of the orders are from owner-pilots - 750 in total. Those who paid their deposit early will score the 375 knot, six occupant jet for just US$1,000,000. Those who want to join the queue now will wait a bit less time for their Eclipse 500 but will pay US$1,295,000. Even at that price, the Eclipse 500 is far cheaper than anything competitive and has the lowest operating cost per mile of any jet. Whatsmore, this extraordinary jet gives you access to more than 10,000 airports in the U.S. Read More
— Aircraft

Designer Jet interiors for the rich and famous

By - March 22, 2006 6 Pictures
March 23, 2006 If no two people are the same, then neither are two billionaires. So why is it that most VIP Interiors tend to favour a traditional concept, layout and style? This is fine if you’re a J.D. Rockefeller, (all leather chesterfields and walnut burr), but what if you’re a Versace or a Branson or even an Oprah?? Great wealth affords customers the opportunity to indulge themselves, to define an identity and style across a range of living environments from castles to Palazzos and megayachts. So why not VIP aircraft?? Read More
— Aircraft

The first flying machine - the hot air balloon

By - November 17, 2005 2 Pictures
Human flight turns 222 years old on Monday. The hot air balloon was the first sustainable form of flight, with the first passengers, (a sheep, duck, and rooster) taking to the skies on September 19, 1783 and the first humans breaking the shackles of gravity on November 21,1783 were Pilatre de Rozier, who was also to become the first man killed in an ballooning accident, and infantry officer Marquis d'Arlandes. The flight took place in the centre of Paris lasted 25 minutes and covered a little more than five miles and the balloon was built of paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Ettienne. The Montgolfiers were well-educated paper merchants who had read the work of English scientist Joseph Priestly on the properties of air and had the skills to adapt the available technologies Read More
— Aircraft

The modern hot air balloon

By - November 17, 2005 44 Pictures
Ballooning went mainstream in 1960 when the Raven prototype ‘modern’ hot-air balloon demonstrated that man had finally found a cost-efficient, lightweight material for the balloon envelope in the form of polyurethane coated nylon, with the burner powered by cylinders of propane. The first U.S. national championships followed in 1963 and further advances to material technology and LPG burners have seen the sport evolve into a substantial tourism industry with more than 5000 registered balloon pilots in the United States and a larger number in Europe. Every major city in the world offers balloon flights to tourists and if it is something you have never done, we thoroughly recommend it. There's no noise (at least most of the time when the burners aren't firing) to get between you and the environment of the birds, and a remarkable platform from which to survey almost anything, let alone something as complex as a real-life city. The following photographic essay was taken yesterday over Melbourne, Australia in a Hot Air Balloon using a Sony DCS-F707 Cybershot 5 megapixel 5x optical zoom camera and a Kodak Easyshare P850 5 megapixel 12x optical zoom camera. Read More
— Aircraft

Star Wars-style Pod Racing comes to life - the Rocket Racing League blasts off

By - October 27, 2005 18 Pictures
October 28, 2005 Think of a cross between Star Wars Pod Racing and Formula 1 and you have the Rocket Racing League (RRL) – a new formula racing competition with nuclear levels of spectator appeal. The first demonstration flight of the new RRL series was held earlier this month at the X PRIZE CUP in New Mexico (USA). Former astronaut Colonel Rick Searfoss piloted the RRL's EZ-Rocket in a series of crowd-thrilling manoeuvres. The EZ-Rocket is the precursor vehicle to the Mark-1 X-Racer, which is currently under development with planned test flights in the Spring and Summer of 2006. The Mark-1 will utilise a modified airframe from Velocity Aircraft and a single 1,500 - 1,800 pound liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene rocket engine. This engine will have twice the thrust of the development vehicle and will be extremely bright and visible in contrast to the development prototype EZ-Rocket which uses LOX and alcohol. As an aerospace entertainment organization, the RRL will combine the competition of racing with the excitement of rocketry with a series of competitions across the United States, with the finals taking place each year at the X PRIZE Cup in New Mexico. RRL races will operate much like auto races, with the exception that the "track" will be in the sky. Courses are expected to be around two miles long, one mile wide, and about 5,000 feet high, running perpendicular to spectators. The X-Racers, will take off from a runway both in a staggered fashion and side-by side and fly a course based on the design of a Grand Prix competition, with long straight-aways, vertical ascents, and deep banks. Each pilot will follow his or her own virtual "tunnel" or "track" of space through which to fly, safely separated from their competitors by a few hundred feet. Read More
— Aircraft

ATG’S Javelin Prototype takes flight

By - September 30, 2005 4 Pictures
October 1, 2005 Aviation Technology Group’s much-awaited Javelin took to the skies for the first time yesterday in Colorado. Born from the intense desire to offer military performance to the general aviation market, the US$2.795 million two-seat executive jet will be available in 2008 and the military trainer versions will be available prior to that – the successful 35 minute maiden flight indicates all is well with the planned roll-out and with the order books now heading for 100 sales for the new two-seat jet aircraft capable of .925 Mach (1130 kmh), you’d best get your money down quickly if you’re planning on being the first on your block to have one of these babies. Read More
— Aircraft

Your own helicopter for under US$20,000

By - September 20, 2005 10 Pictures
September 21, 2005 Flying is not a sport generally associated with those people who are light of wallet – which makes the Mosquito Ultralight helicopter something of a rarity. The entire kit for the Mosquito can be purchased for US$20,000 and if you think the minimalist Mosquito leaves you a bit vulnerable, there’s the fully enclosed Mosquito XE and XEL which can be purchased for US$23,000 apeice. Building the kits will cost you about 200 to 300 hours to build or you can have the plane built for you for a flat US$4000. Getting airborn for under US$20,000 in your own, new helicopter is quite a feat – we’re not aware of any other helicopter in this price category and on top of that, both Mosquito variants offer very low maintenance and operating costs. Read More
— Aircraft

Mach .925 performance in a two seater business jet

By - March 31, 2005 10 Pictures
April 1, 2005 It takes but a glance at the Javelin personal jet to understand that it was born from the intense desire to offer military performance to the general aviation market. The existence of a market prepared to pay US$2.5 million for a two-seat jet aircraft capable of .925 Mach (1130 kmh) is now verified as the Aviation Technology Group (ATG) is holding 80 firm orders for the Javelin accounting for the entire first year of production. Initial customer deliveries of the FAA-certified Javelin are slated for early 2007 so if you get your order in now, you’ll still be waiting until 2008 to be the first in your neighbourhood to have one of these beauties. Read More
— Aircraft

An "affordable" personal jet aircraft

By - March 14, 2005 11 Pictures
March 15, 2005 The Sport-Jet is a single-engine, all-fibreglass, pressurised aircraft designed for single-person operation by a pilot trained in piston-powered airplanes. The Sport-Jet is powered by a single turbofan in the 1,350-pound class (such as Pratt & Whitney PW615 or Williams International FJ-33) will cruise at 340 knots at 25,000 feet (above 95% of all weather), and can carry four persons (plus pilot) over 1,000 nautical miles. Certification of the Sport-Jet is anticipated two years from now and it is expected to sell for under US$1 million when it reaches market late in 2007. Read More
— Aircraft

First non-stop and non-refueled, around-the-world solo flight

By - March 6, 2005 4 Pictures
March 7, 2005 Steve Fossett and the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer have achieved their aviation world record for their non-stop and non-refueled, around-the-world solo flight. After 67 hours and 1 minute of gruelling sleep deprivation and 12 unappealing diet milkshakes, Steve finally touched down in front of an excited crowd of public and press at Salina Municipal Airport at 19:48:56UTC on March 3, despite having some very worrying problems earlier in the flight. Read More
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