What's cooler than a hover-capable, electric-powered, super-quiet personal VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft? If you answered "absolutely nothing," do read on, because NASA is preparing to oblige you. The space agency's Puffin aircraft design will be officially unveiled tomorrow, showing just how far personal, electrically propelled flight could change the ways we live and get around.
For everyone looking to go to Tosche station to pick up some power converters, your ride may be here sooner than you think. The Israeli aerospace company Urban Aeronautics has posted pics of its curiously landspeeder-like UAV, as well as news of the craft's first successful lift off.
Now, before dreams of tagging womp rats overtake your feeble imagination, note that the craft, called an AirMule, only managed to get 2 feet off the ground. Still, considering the machine was only concept art in 2008, that's pretty good.
Michael Robert Dacre, a 53-year-old aircraft entrepreneur, died when his Jetpod--a prototype "air taxi" twin-jet aircraft --crashed on take-off during a test flight in Malaysia. Dacre had hoped to revolutionize city commuting with the jetpod, an aircraft he invented with the ability to take off or land on very short stretches of road or grass for short-hop commuting.
The first commercial flying-saucer line, the M200 series from Moller International, could go on sale next year.
John B. Carnett
It's designed to seat two, take off and land vertically, fly 10 feet above the ground, and reach 75 miles an hour. It's about the size of a car, but it's round instead of boxy. Yup, it's a flying saucer. Next year, California-based Moller International hopes to introduce the M200G personal recreation craft, the first of what the company expects to be a full line of "volanters"—vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. The design is 300 years in the making.
A vertical-takeoff concept commercial plane could get you in the air faster
By Michael BelfiorePosted 09.25.2008 at 5:50 pm 14 Comments
In this age of eternal flight delays, traveling from New York to Miami in the scheduled three hours sounds like a fantasy. Yet within a decade, aircraft designer Abe Karem plans to fix that by bypassing congested runways in his tilt-rotor, vertical-takeoff commercial plane, the AeroTrain. Sitting on a helipad with its twin rotors tilted straight up, the craft can take off vertically and fly like a helicopter. Once the plane has reached a safe altitude of 50 feet, the pilot will tilt the rotors forward and fly the craft like an airplane.
Fifty years after Popular Science profiled his alternative vehicle, William Bertelsen is still tinkering away
By Holly OtterbeinPosted 07.31.2008 at 4:27 pm 4 Comments
In 1959, William Bertelsen became the unlikely star of a national science magazine.
He wasn't a scientist. He was the country doctor of Neponset, Ill., his hometown of 500 people; he was married, with three girls and one boy. In all his days at school, he hadn't taken a single class in aerodynamics, and only took one course in physics.
Then, at 38, his career in cooking up futuristic, unorthodox vehicles began.
The National Archives releases old UFO-related case reports
By Gregory MonePosted 05.14.2008 at 11:24 am 1 Comment
At 4 PM on April 19, 1984, a team of air traffic controllers at an airport in the east of England reportedly watched a strange, bright, circular vehicle touch down, then blast off again at a tremendous speed and with a near vertical trajectory. Although they didn't want their names to be included in the report covering the event, they believed it was a UFO. And they were sober.