Saturday, December 29, 2007

I gotta get me one of these

Behold, the Segway of the Sky.

It works like the ground Segway - you lean (but not too far!) in the direction you want to go and the stand-on helicopter flies that direction. Known as the Vertipod, it's not a new idea, being about 50 years old. None of the earlier concepts got off the ground (heh!) but AirBouyant promises to get this machine to both military and civilian market within a short time.

Gizmodo, whence the link, says that the Vertipod "is intended to travel five to 15 feet above ground at a top speed of 40 mph" and will cost about ten large. That's about what it costs to buy a new, no-frills ultralight airplane, which can fly a lot higher and farther and one-fourth faster. But you still need a runway, even if it can be a flat pasture.

Anyway, the ultimate in personal flight has always been seen as vertical takeoff, as in from your back yard. I'd say they should push the Vertipod's ceiling up to 50 feet. Then most of us could fly over obstacles around the manse.

The Hiller Flying Platform of 1955 did fly higher and was very stable. So stable, in fact, that the Army rejected it (and for other reasons).

Another concept from the 50s was the WASP - a jet-powered, one-man platform that could fly up to 10,000 feet altitude.

I'll take any of 'em.

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