Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

VTOL

The Transformer (TX) program calls for a vertical-takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle that ...

The company behind the first FAA approved "roadable aircraft" – the Terrafugia Transition – has been selected to contribute to DARPA's Transformer (TX) Project, a program that aims to bring flying car technology to the battlefield. Terrafugia will subcontract to one of two winning teams under phase one of the program which focuses on creating a conceptual design for a four person cross between a Humvee and a helicopter for use in insurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation and logistical supply.  Read More

The tilt-rotor Panther UAV

Tilt-rotor aircraft such as the Bell-Boeing built V-22 Osprey that use powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing for lift and propulsion combine the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is bringing these benefits to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with its new Panther and Mini Panther UAVs that were unveiled last week at the Latrun Conference in Israel.  Read More

The AVX TX fly-drive vehicle boasts VTOL capabilities

One of the first to respond to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) call seeking designs for a tactical flying car under its Transformer (TX) program is the AVX Aircraft Company. Its AVX Aircraft can be manually driven on the ground like an SUV and also boasts Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

Total Experience is offering a Jetpack 'test pilot' program

If you dream of strapping into a Martin Jetpack and taking to the skies Boba Fett-style but you don't have a lazy US$86K lying around, there is another option. New Zealand adventure travel specialist Total Experience has teamed up with Martin Aircraft to offer a Jetpack "test pilot" program where anyone who is under 18, less than 90kg and holds a current driver’s license can experience solo flight for the (relatively cheaper) outlay of NZD15,000 (about US$10,700).  Read More

The Martin Aircraft jetpack is the first commercially-available 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

VTOL Technologies' Flying-Wing VTOL UAV

The age of unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs has well and truly dawned but designers aren't resting on their laurels when it comes to improving the capabilities of these multi-talented aircraft. One innovation that's come to the fore recently is the use of an enclosed four rotor platform (see our recent look at the CyberQuad) which offers a number of advantages including greater stability, agility, hovering ability and a smaller footprint. This unique new design from Britain's VTOL Technologies takes this idea a step further, adding four movable rotors to a single "flying-wing" to create an aircraft that claims to deliver a higher payload capacity for its size and up to four times the endurance of current vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV designs.  Read More

The CyberQuad UAV uses four ducted rotors for stable, stealthy flight in urban or enclosed...

If one rotor is good, four must be better. That’s the general idea behind the CyberQuad, a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Cyber Technology. The CyberQuad is an electric, remote-controlled reconnaissance platform that features four ducted rotors to provide lift and maneuverability, allowing the remote-control UAV to be used in urban and enclosed environments. The four rotors give the CyberQuad the payload capacity and stability of a helicopter-type UAV, while the ducted design avoids the dangers associated with exposed propellers.  Read More

An AESIR UAV takes flight

Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) employ a fixed wing design much like that of a traditional plane. But these designs offer limited maneuverability and payload capacity, require a runway to takeoff and land, and are unable to hover. Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAVs get around these problems, usually by employing rotors like a helicopter. Now UK-based company AESIR has developed a VTOL UAV that has no external rotating parts, instead relying on a phenomenon known as the Coanda effect to generate lift.  Read More

The Flying-Cam III E SARAH

We write a lot about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in military use but, as is so often the case with technology developed for the military, this kind of equipment is increasingly finding its way into civilian applications. The latest example to catch our eye is the Flying-Cam III E Special Aerial Response Autonomous Helicopter (SARAH) – a fully electric quasi-UAV camera platform for getting those majestic soaring shots for film and television shoots.  Read More

The Entecho hoverpod

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

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