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Friday, August 26, 2011

Flying solo

Saw this article from Popular Mechanics. Wouldn't it fun if we can get one of them and take to the sky?

Neither one is quite George Jetson's jet pack, but these two new ultralight helicopters are about as bare-bones as a flying machine can get: an engine to spin two sets of rotor blades, and a chair hanging underneath. The key to the AirScooter II and the Gen H-4 is mounting two blades on the same axis and rotating them in opposite directions to counteract each other's torque, eliminating the need for a tail rotor.

Both designs meet the FAA's rules for ultralight aircraft: a top speed of just over 60 mph and a 5-gal. gas tank, for about an hour of flying. That means you don't need a license to own or fly one. "Initially, our plan was to keep the thing really low to the ground," says AirScooter president Dwaine Barnes. But you can't give a man a helicopter and tell him not to soar, so both models can be equipped with a ballistic parachute.

If we have to pick just one, the AirScooter seems like the safer bet. Its big engine and pneumatic floats make it look rugged and downright stable compared to the Gen H-4's spindly aluminum piping. Now, if we can just scrape together $50,000.

AVAILABILITY: Production starting in 2007.
PRICE: Around $50,000
WEIGHT: Under 254 lb.
LOAD: About 350 lb.
ENGINES: One 65-hp, four-stroke engine.

AVAILABILITY: Home-assembly kit (30 to 40 hours) available now.
PRICE: $30,000
WEIGHT: 155 lb.
LOAD: Up to 200 lb. — bigger engines are being developed to carry bigger pilots.
ENGINES: Four independent 10-hp, two-stroke engines — and it can fly safely on three if one conks out.


ken said...

i wish i can fly too one day.. but does parasailing considered as flying? :P

The Blogger (63672674) [meoramri] said...

once you feet leaves the ground you are considered flying. Even falling off a building can be viewed as falling - free style flying!


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