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Tag Archives: Aviation

Flying Car Takes Off

first_flight_chase_plane

By Evan Ackerman

Terrafugia Transition is a flying car. Or maybe it’s a driving plane. Whatever you want to call it, it’s probably not what you were picturing as the vehicle of the future… But while it’s not nearly as slick as the Moller Skycar, the Transition has the important distinction of not being total vaporware, and as proof, it had it’s maiden flight on March 5th:

More, after the jump.Continue Reading

You Sleep In A Car Bed? Pfft! I Sleep In A Jet Engine Bed

747 Jet Liner Bed (Image courtesy Motoart)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well that’s not entirely true. I don’t actually sleep in a jet engine bed yet, but that’s because Motoart has only recently announced their 747 Jet Liner Bed that uses an authentic 747 engine nacelle crowning as the headboard. It also features an 84-inch diameter round mattress (since according to them, round beds are apparently making a comeback) and the open ends where the nacelle has been cut in half are covered with plexiglass allowing you to see the internal structure.

Pricing is available upon request, so I’ll let you come to your own ballpark figure on what one of these unique beds actually costs.

[ 747 Jet Liner Bed ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

JetLev Water Powered Jetpack

By Evan Ackerman

The big reason why it’s not the future and you don’t have a jetpack is fuel. Jetpacks are necessarily a compromise between the amount of fuel they can carry and the amount of weight they can lift, and so far the best you’ve been able to expect is 10 or 20 minutes of flying time. So if somehow you could get the fuel off of the jetpack, you’d be good to go… And that’s what the JetLev does.

The JetLev is a jetpack that’s powered by water. It doesn’t carry the water with it; rather, it’s got a 140 foot long flexible tube attached to a little boat that you drag along behind you. The boat has a 4 stroke 115 hp engine in it that pumps water up into the jetpack at 100 psi, and when that water comes shooting down out of the two nozzles at the sides, it puts out enough force to lift a person up to 50 feet in the air at speeds of 50 mph. Since you’ve got about 326 million trillion gallons of propellant at your disposal (and it recycles!), the only limit to the range and endurance of the JetLev is the gas in the motor boat pod thingy, which currently gives a range of nearly 200 miles.

There are downsides to being restricted to water, but upsides as well… Namely, if anything goes wrong, you’re no more than 50 feet away from a splash landing. The JetLev is reportedly a cinch to operate, and it costs about $128,000.

[ JetLev ] VIA [ Wired ]

ICON A5 – An Affordable Seaplane For The Masses… Well, Almost

ICON A5 (Images courtesy ICON Aircraft)
By Andrew Liszewski

Way back in 2004, the FAA created a Light Sport Aircraft category and a Sport Pilot certificate with the intentions of making flying more accessible and affordable for the masses. And that’s where the ICON A5 enters the picture. It’s a two-seater floatplane designed for even the most novice of pilots thanks to a simplified instrument panel, GPS navigation and minimal instrumentation. In fact the interior looks more like your average sports car, than the cockpit of a 747. But that’s not all. The A5 can also run on unleaded gas meaning you can refuel at most marinas, and it has a folding wing design making it compact enough to tow behind a car and be stored in your garage.

The company behind the A5, ICON Aircraft, is located in Southern California and their engineering and development team apparently came from Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, who are probably best known these days for building SpaceShipOne and the upcoming SpaceShipTwo. So needless to say the design and construction of the A5 is probably top-notch. In fact I’d be pulling out my checkbook right now were it not for the fact that their idea of ‘affordable’ is a price tag of $139,000. But at least you don’t have to pay hanger or airport fees right?

[ ICON A5 ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Flying Ferrari Only Two Years Away

By Evan Ackerman

Alright, here’s the good news: in as few as two years, you may be able to purchase a Ferrari 599 GTB, capable of vertical takeoff and sustained flight at up to 150 mph with a range of 75 miles. It’ll have a hybrid electric engine developing up to 800 hp, powering eight ducted fans mounted in the fuselage that can push the car around while it’s on the ground (kinda like a hovercraft, I guess), or direct thrust downward for liftoff. Once airborne, the car maneuvers like a helicopter, rolling to turn and changing pitch to move forward or backward.

Ready for the bad news? It’s not the estimated price of $813,000. No, it’s the fact that the car is being developed by Moller International, the same Moller International who has been promising us a flying car for the last five years or so. How’s it been going? Well, I just checked, and there’s no M400x in my driveway. Hold on, let me check again… OMG! Wait, nevermind, that’s just a squirrel with a jetpack. Sigh. Oh well, a flying Ferrari was fun to think about for like 30 seconds anyway.

[ Telegraph ] VIA [ Fark ]

Fish Tank Friday: Flying Fish


[ Direct Link ]

By Evan Ackerman

Fish tanks, by definition, are restrictive, and don’t give fish the freedom to explore the upper atmosphere. It’s a real problem, especially if you have a flying fish, like this one. Much like the Festo Air_ray, this fish is most likely filled with helium and controlled by servo-powered fins. There aren’t many more details, but it seems to have been an entry in a German airship regatta.

Click here for a video of the longest recorded flight of a real flying fish.

VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Drivable Plane For Sale Next Year, Still No Flying Car

By Evan Ackerman

The problem with the future is that by definition, it keeps on getting closer but it’s never quite here. Frustrating. It seems that although we haven’t reached the flying car stage yet, we’ve managed to make it to drivable airplane. The Terrafugia Transition is basically a little airplane with a pusher prop, four wheels, and foldable wings that is certified by both the FAA as a light airplane and by the NHTSA as a street legal (and safe and insurable) automobile. It’s certainly innovative, but in a lot of ways, it’s extremely simple: there’s no ducted fans or thruster pods or pulse jets to let you take off out of traffic jams or anything… It’s really just an airplane. With enough foldy bits to make it a car.

As far as mechanics go, the Transition is gas powered, with a range of about 450 miles. Anyone can get in and drive the car, although you need key code to deploy the wings, so your kids (or your cat) won’t be able to take off in the car, so to speak. You will need a pilot’s license to fly the Transition, but just a light sport license, which is significantly cheaper and easier to obtain. The first Terrafugia Transition is scheduled to take to the air next month, and you should be able to buy one for yourself by the end of 2009, for $194,000. For that price, you could buy a new car and a new plane… But try driving them both at the same time.

Video (CG) after the jump.Continue Reading

Awesome: Falcon R/C Helicopter Shoots BBs

By Evan Ackerman

I’m not entirely sure what the text on that picture says… Something about destroying France for the last time, I think. But who cares, it’s an R/C helicopter with a freakin’ BB cannon on it. The Falcon 4 channel electric helicopter (it’s modeled after the Apache) comes ready to fly out of the box with a remote, battery, charger, BBs, and safety goggles. Behind the helicopter’s engine compartment is a “bomb box” which holds the BBs, and a button on the remote will launch them out of some kind of cannon thing mounted just under the starboard weapons pod. There’s no information on ammunition capacity, rate of fire, or range… But you can always just zoom past your intended target at neck level and decapitate them with the rotor blades.

The Falcon should be available soon (in Italy, at least) for about 100 Euros (or about 50,000 150 USD).

[ Hobbymedia (Translated) ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

MotoPOD Stashes A Motorcycle Under Your Light Aircraft

MotoPOD (Images courtesy MotoPOD LLC)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s not uncommon for people who travel across the country in a large RV to tow a smaller car so that they can leave the RV parked at a campsite while still making day trips. The same problem exists for pilots who fly around the country, except that they have no choice but to leave their light planes at the local airport when they want to go into town. But finding a ride can be difficult since most small airports that cater to light planes don’t have car rental facilities. So if you’re a pilot who’s encountered this problem before, you might want to consider the MotoPOD which is basically a cargo pod that allows you to carry a street-legal motorcycle underneath your plane.

The motorcycle is a Yamaha XT225 which was selected because it was both economical and lightweight, and overall the pod and bike add about 500 pounds to an aircraft’s total weight. (Resulting in an airspeed cut of about 9 knots.) The bike does require a bit of assembly before it can be ridden, but the pod is easily lowered with a built-in powered winch and you can apparently be on the road just minutes after landing. The MotoPOD is expected to go on sale later this year with a price tag below $10,000 (including the motorcycle) but you can reserve one now for a fully-refundable $1,000.

[ MotoPOD ] VIA [ Gizmag ]