25 November 2008

Personal Flight Goes VTOL

This personal tilt rotor cruises at 230 mph, but takes off and lands vertically. It is powered by a serial hybrid system, utilising twin electric motors for prop power, with auxiliary battery power for takeoffs, landings, and flight transition. The batteries are kept topped off by a lightweight 104 hp two stroke IC engine. The inventor hopes to limit empty weight for the prototype to 1000 pounds. A lot of work remains to be done to achieve a flightworthy rating.

The gentleman on your left is flying a personal hydrogen peroxide chemical rocket pack. He has flown 457 metres over the Arkansas River's 321 metre deep Royal Gorge. It took him 21 seconds to make the flight--leaving him a full 9 seconds reserve power, for safety.

These vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight systems are meant as single person devices. Safety is obviously not the first priority in the early stages of development. Test pilots have to be of a special breed--not likely to be trial lawyers or politicians. Test pilots have to have courage and nerves of steel. They understand what it means to live entirely in the present, or they do not live very long at all. They take responsibility for their own lives every moment.

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