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Personal Helicopter 111

So the BBC says: "Personal helicopter set for lift-off." The next best thing to telecommuting. I can hear you cynics scoff, since it hasn't actually been demoed flying yet, but you know you still want to look at the photos. Try not to look. I dare ya.

P.S. We have to post one of these stories every five months. It's in our contract. (CT:Plus we're jealous that Popular Mechanics always gets to have hovercrafts and personal planes on their covers)

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Personal Helicopter

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    With all our current problems with chaos, road rage and new vehicle operators in two dimensions. I worry about adding a third dimension. If these things are to be used for commuting then their flightpaths should be fully automated to prevent them from becoming a population control device. If these things have their flight paths fully automated then hax0r2 can use them as a population control device.

    If these things are distributed as widely and as cheaply as possible then the world's overpopulation issues will be solved.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    didnt instpector gadget have one of these? I wonder if they also have an umbrella to save you when the helicopter runs out of fuel...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Q: How dangerous is flying this thing?

    A: You're going to die someday. Why wait?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look at the pictures closely, it's obvious that this thing can double as a split-second hair dryer if you orient the propellers in a certain way!!!
  • Well, the electricity can _potentially_ come from hydroelectric plants, solar power, wind power and renewable energy sources. Granted, most electricity does not fit into the above categories, but it could.


  • 2000-08-08 17:00:49 Gasoline powered jet pack being tested (articles,toys) (rejected)

    When I submitted the story (with link to another page) it wasn't considered newsworthy. :)
  • Well, you can have some semi-automatic system to avoid collision against some other 'copter.
    Each 'copter would have some emitter (it would not be able to take off if the emitter is not functionning) and a computer system would not allow you to go too close to another 'copter.

    The maintenance problem is much more dangerous IMHO, that is to say these thing must be treated like real helicopter (which spend half of their lifetime in maintenance) more than a car, because a failure is much more dangerous in a 'copter than in a car..
  • Think about it. Say you've got 10 pool balls on a 20' by 20' surface, scattered randomly, with random velocity vectors. Collisions aren't going to be infrequent.

    Now think about 10 tennis balls, flying in a 20' cube. Collisions will go down by an order of magnitude.

    People used to cry about how unsafe cars were, relative to horses and buggies. We as a society have decided the advantages outweigh the dangers. I guarantee that economical personal air transport will do exactly the same thing, only it'll be a lot safer. (Note that Moller's skycar design referenced in this thread has no provision for pilot tell it where you want to go, and it's totally hands-off. I trust computers more than 90% of humans, so this is Good.)
  • Hey, I've been telecommuting for five years... if somebody offers me one of these, I'm changing jobs!

    Bennies: three weeks paid vacation, 401K, company 'copter...

  • I used to think these ideas were great. Everybody can just zip around, avoiding traffic, etc. Wonderful!

    Then I started actually taking flying lessons. There is a lot of air traffic, even close to the ground. It generally is hard to spot and moves very fast. (Even my little Cessna averages 100 mph.) There aren't any nice lines painted on the clouds to show you where to go: you need to know the traffic flow around the area, assuming the airspace is uncontrolled. Worse, any major city is probably going to be under class B airspace (IOW, you need ATC permission to enter.) and the ATC controllers aren't going to put up with a bunch of idiots flying around in their airspace, endangering 747s. (Hell, as a student pilot I'm not even allowed to enter class B, and I at least have the proper equipment and (most of the) training.)

    And next, of course, let's deal with the wonderful issue of someone flying into a cloud, losing control and going splat. My last flight was through moderate haze and clouds- visibility was at times probably similar to that on RFK's last flight. I did fine, but I wouldn't have gone flying at all if I hadn't had an IFR rated instructor sitting next to me.

    Then again, we could equip all these things with a transponder, IFR instruments and force everyone to get a pilot's license. Or perhaps we can restrict them to uncontrolled airspace and VFR flight only. Suddenly it doesn't seem like such a great idea.


  • Its seems to me that this thing is a death trap
    waiting to happen. What if you have a major engine failure? Death! Helicopters have very high
    maintence needs. Can you expect a private
    citizen to perform the necesary maintence? At least in a normal helicopter ou can autorotate
    if you have a major engine failure. I would expect
    you would just drop like a stone in this thing.
    It has always been a dream of mine to obtain my helicopter pilots license and purchase one of
    those 50k dollar single seater choppers. I wouldnt
    be caught dead it one of these things.. we maybe I would be caught dead in one:)

  • this is just too much to resist. A few immediate thoughts/concers:

    voyeurism will take on a whole new meaning
    - don't think, that girl across the screet now, it's that girl on the 106th floor

    - now you'll really be under a shower...

    tornadoes & hurricanes (are very frequent in the States)
    - silicon valley news at eleven, tornado 'blows' away early personal helicopter adopters...

    I'd rather be in a SUV than a copter when a twister hits :-)
  • I heard an interview with the founder of Moller International [], he stated that although at the beginning the Sky Car [] would cost as much as a million bucks. He also stated that the technology is cheap enough that if there is enough sales, there was no reason that the cost couldn't come down to the price of a new Mustang.

    The Sky Car also would not allow you to have control of the vehicle, it would be totally controled by the four computers onboard. So set your destination and kick back and pull up your notepad and read some slashdot before you get to work.

    Another cool thing about that is that there would really be no need to purchase more than one Sky Car per family. One goes to work then sends the car back home to pick up the kids for school etc..

    Anyhow I'm looking forward to the day I can cut my comute from the 2 hours it takes me now to get to work to well under half an hour.
  • I can't believe I'm reading all these negative comments. Where is your sense of adventure? Where is your openness to new ideas? And how can you comment on its airworthiness and safety unless you are (1) an aeronautical engineer or (b) a pilot?

  • Another BAF fan! Yay! I personally think BAF is the best cartoon by any standards, but am pretty lonely at home or among friends, with my apprecciation.
  • I seem to recall a Bob the Angry Flower [] cartoon about this...

    Ah! Here [] it is.

    Interesting how the personal choppers designed by a fictional sociopathic flower and a aerospace company with help from NASA seem to look very similar to one another.
  • As far as that kind of vehicle goes, I think the Carter Copter is more viable at this point. I feel this way for a NUMBER of reasons, but the most important is having something other than combustion engines to fall back on.

    The Carter Copter (CC) uses an internal flywheel to store energy prior, and during flight, eliminating the dead-man's-zone; the zone in which you don't have enough height to get the rotor into auto-spin- to slow your descent. The flywheel is so efficient, supposedly from the site, that you can cut the engine and still have enough internal energy to jump straight up 40 feet, and go down the runway 300 yards, and then land safely --All without combustion.

    Having that potential energy as a reserve during flight is a beautiful thing!

    Solotrek looks cool of course, but like the moller skycar- if your engine dies- you're fucked, fucked, fucked and then some. Yeah, they'll put a ballistic parachute in them but repairs will be expensive vs. just landing it.

    Anyone know what insurance for these vehicles will cost? I'm sure thats just what DaVinci would azk.... :)

  • You're right - to a point. You're actually allowed to land in your backyard if you so choose - provided you don't live in a metropolitan area. The FAA does not permit recreational flying over metro areas. You can check out more information regarding exactly what's permitted at the Experimental Aircraft Association [], of which I am a card-carrying member :)

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • Who modded this down? It's actually on-topic and really kickass poetry.

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • The vehicle has a governor [] on it that "encourages" the pilot to land when the fuel level reaches a certain level.

    These Millenium Jet guys really did think of everything.

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • Read this [] and quit whining, FUDmaster. The aircraft has a built-in ballistic (rocket-launched) parachute system.

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • Ugh, a FUD troll, the worst kind. Please, we're all fairly intelligent here on Slashdot. I know you can do better than that.

    By the way, does this make any sense at all?

    • didn't look at the pictures.

    • I think I would have seen pictures of them by now.

    Shape up!

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • No, the landing gear are on the bottom of the frame.

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • Interesting. I saw some links to this waaaaay back on Ars Technica [] last year when this company was just getting started. Even then they had a halfway-working prototype. If you think the Solotrek is cool, check out the DuoTrek [], which is almost insanely cool with a pressurized cabin and 4 different vectorable engines. No word on projected costs yet, unfortunately.

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • It is not just a personal helicopter, it is a full set of Acroyear battle-armor, check it out:
    Acroyear []
  • ScudYuppies... Its a new idea from the DOD. Enough of them flying around and we don't have to worry about intercepting ballistic missiles before they hit major urban centers... the ScudYuppies will do it for us.
  • I first saw a thing on these back in '95 on the discovery channel. They were already using them in Europe for commuters to get from remote regions back to civilization. Why does it take so long for something cool to catch on?

    Confuscious Said: "Confusion can often be Confusing"
  • think "oh shit, i've run out of gas"...

    my dad owns a cessna and one time, when we *knew* we had the second tank full, we let the first tank run out... and even though we *knew* it was going to happen, it was still scary as hell hearing the engine stop...

    you must amputate to email me

  • 'nuff said
  • Ever wish there was a delete post command? Ever have a cat run across your keyboard and post for you? Ever wonder why the filter accepts a post with nothing in it?

    Anyway...the flying cars are here. Technologically that is. Have been for quite awhile. The FAA is the holdup. Moller International [] has the technological end worked out.

    A recent wired story [] is here.

    Specs on the M400:

    • Cruise speed/ top speed: 350/390 mph
    • Maximum rate of climb: 7800 fpm
    • Maximum range: 900 miles
    • Payload with max fuel: 740 lbs
    • Fuel consumption: 15 mpg
    • Operational ceiling: 30,000 ft
    • Gross weight: 2400 lbs
    • Engine power (8x120 hp): 960 hp
    • Dimensions (LxWxH): 18' x 9' x 6'
    • Takeoff and landing area: 35 ft dia
    • Noise level at 500 ft: 65 dba
    • Vertical takeoff and landing: yes
    • Uses automotive gas:
    • Emergency parachutes: yes

    Estimate price, if the FAA approved today, would be about $400k. Once the volume of production is ramped up, Moller believes they could bring the cost down very quickly, perhaps coming to rest in the $60k range within a few years.

  • In this case the parachutes are for the vehicle itself. Airplanes are heavier, and also typically cigar shaped - making that option much less practical.

  • Lizard is thinking of how people navigate in San Francisco in only TWO dimensions.

    Lizard is thinking of brain-dead yuppies yacking on cell phones while they're 500 feet in the air.

    Lizard is thinking of investing in TitaniumUmbrellas.Com.

  • They had this exact thing in a Maxim or something a month or two ago. This is news is history.

    I ordered the plans for an ultra light from PopSci :) It's partially built (ribs & spars & the elevator is put together) but I was 16 at the time and low on $$$ to finish it (but I did have an adult who knew what he was doing helping me)... One day I will complete it and crash into my old highschool instead of water bombing it like i had planned :) Heh, I even had the Estes rocket launching pad all figured out....those were the good ole days when all I had to worry about was getting a good seat behind one of the many good looking girls in class.


  • Q is probably whirling in his grave! expect to see this in the next Bond movie...
  • For mass flying to be safe, control must be given to a central authority. No collision recovery here.

    Fly and be free my little pigeon.

  • If you lose power on one rotor (the bearings sieze, or a blade is sheared off, etc.), you start rotating around the C.G. of (you+personal helicopter). Game over, man.

    Lose both rotors, and you're a lawn dart. Game very over, man.

    I think I'll wait on this one.

    John (PP-ASEL, -G, -IA)

  • You know, it's funny -- I thought the same thing. I checked out the pictures, and said, "finally, some proof of scientific advancement in the last fifty years. George Jetson would be proud." Sort of a bummer that it hasn't actually flown yet, though; for now it's just a big (but very cool looking) chair. It's the year 2000, and we may not have flying cars or moon colonies, but I'm willing to settle for a personal heli'.

    However, from the looks of that contraption, you probably can't get more than five feet off the ground, and once you're up, I imagine you can't go much faster than a good sprinter. I didn't check out the rest of the site, so I'm not sure how fast/high they claim it can fly, but since it hasn't been used yet, my guess is as good as theirs. ;-)

    All generalizations are false.

  • sorry lao wai, but the first post is the chinese post and is the best post! (also, sixth post. sixth is technicaly taiwanese, though).

    The tragedy, of course, is that posts 2-5 and 5-10 will likely be killed in the inevitable nuclear conflict. War is hell.

    All generalizations are false.

  • Here ya go: []

    All generalizations are false.

  • Yes, that is the essential problem... if the engine in your Volvo stalls, you don't fall to your very messy death (unless you drive off a cliff or something). Aircraft in regular use are in constant maintenance, and the cost of owning, operating, and maintaining such a 'personal helpcopter' would be prohibitive to all but the very wealthy... most of which already own Learjets, which are faster, and better known to aero-mechanics. ;-)

    The only upside is that, as I mentioned in another post, I doubt that thing can get more than five feet off the ground. That's an upside because you have a chance of surviving a fall. :-D

    All generalizations are false.

  • LOL, yeah... in this case, your landing gear are your feet. Get a good pair of Docs ('air-wair', har har).

    All generalizations are false.

  • Check out "Up!" [], a "Bob the Angry Flower" cartoon dealing with these. While you're there, check out the rest of the comics at the Bob the Angry Flower Homepage []. Bob rules!

    "Citizens have rights. Consumers only have wallets." - gilroy

  • Q: How dangerous is flying this thing?

    A: You're going to die someday. Why wait?

    Hahaha, exactly my thoughts too. I don't think these contraptions are ever gonna be stable enough, except for daredavils and the like.

    On the other hand, just imagine if some day they can really make it work, then people will start crashing on top of your house all the time! Cool concept uh...
  • Look at the size of the damn thing, its like having two jet engines on your back. I profered the dinkly little rocket pack James Bond had in thunderbird (a real prototype of the something the military thinking about, add enough fuel for 30 seconds only), or maybe his autogyro in a bag, Little Nelie [An Autotgyro is like a heliocoptor but with unpowered rotors]
  • I think you're talking about Smarty Man Game Designer Survivor []. HTH.

  • Actually, they did mention this fact right in the article itself.

    Plus, it's nice to have a follow-up article at this point (when they've actually gotten to the wind-tunnel stage - and can boast tech support from NASA).

    But hey, thanks for playing.

  • I fly hang-gliders. There's power units available for hang-gliders and paragliders now, so there's personal air transportation for you. I don't know why more ppl don't fly hang-gliders - it's an amazing feeling flying in complete silence.

    At a recent free-flight show (in Telford, UK), there was a stand featuring a self-build helicopter. It looked pretty agricultural, just being a basic girder frameword around the single seat and the engine, but it was perfectly airworthy.

    Most fun personal air transport was at the last Telford show, which was a personal hot-air balloon! Think of the Darwin award honorable mention for the guy who tied helium balloons to his armchair, and you're in about the right sort of area!

  • "Commute to work or play in your very own helicopter. Miracle acrylic bubble makes it possible" ~Tom Servo, Eegah!

  • Notice none of the pictures show anyone off the ground in one of these things??? Kinda' Odd. Makes me wonder if even the inventors would get into one of these death traps.
  • Personal flying craft have been around awhile. Take a look at the Bensen B8M at Incidentally, I have one of these in kit form which has yet to be assembled if you want one. []

    They use a 70 hp engine to give forward thrust and the helicopter type rotors on top act as a wing when the forward motion causes them to spin. Takeoff is not vertical but it is considerably shorter than you'd expect.

    I have always wondered, if you flew one of these about a foot over the freeway pavement if the police can still charge you for speeding :)

  • Don't get me wrong. I WANT ONE. However, upon looking at one I have to wonder... 'How the F%@k do you land the thing!?'
  • You don't need a license if you can get it down to 250 pounds, which exist in several forms, but you have to build them yourself.
  • mwahaha, I can script my way to work in Logo

    OTOH, if you think script kiddies are bad now, just wait till they can script your personal-copter

    repeat 666 [rotate 360]
  • Lets go for a head on. You approach me on an intercept vector, at 60mph. I approach you at 60mph. I think you want more than 100 feet of notice. At that speed, from the time you look up from the cell phone you're busy dialing, you should JUST about see the blades of the other copter that's going to go give you a REALLY bad day.
  • When I checked out the site, it took me nearly 20 minutes to load the first page.. So, in respect to everyone else who may be slashdotting their servers, I opened a ton of windows, and grabbed the entire site, and mirrored it over at heli.htm []

    Why? Because those pics are definately cool! Check em out on a site that runs a little faster~

  • Your flying cars might be here someday: []


  • I accepted the dare and didn't look at the pictures. Now I dare Jamie to actually fly one of the contraptions...

    And everybody here should stop talking about nonsense like personal helicopterst. If they really existed, I think I would have seen pictures of them by now.
  • It was intended to be humorous, but we're clearly on very different wavelengths.
    Ah well, at least the second part was noticed.

  • At least they covered their asses by mentioning their 'Reduntant, -1' news post.

  • Out of style? You're not keeping up to date. Autogyros are the wave of the future: []

    And, I might add, these are already flying.

  • You had your flying cars in the twenties and thirty's. They were called autogyros. They went out of style.
  • I even have an autographed copy of the first book. :)

    Also, I believe that cartoon came out shortly after the first announcement about these personal helicopters.

  • But you also have to get a license to drive, and that isn't entirely different. at first it may be hard to acquire, but within a few years (if it gains popularity) the requirements will have been so dumbed down, you'll have people flying and talking on 2 cell phones while using their PDA and eating some pizza.
  • Are the parachutes for the passangers or the vehicle, and I always wondered why they don't have emergancy parachutes for airplanes (the vehicle) in general, is it due to some technical issue?
  • Imagine going down to DMV and getting a licencing test. Wadda they do - spool up 2 of these suckers and fly next to you while you:

    go up
    go back
    go right
    go left
    turn left
    turn right
    rotate 360
    pitch forward
    pitch back
    travel forward while gaining altitude
    demonstrate that you can pull the ripcord and bail
    stop, spool down.

    Honestly - who is qualfied to do this and who is going to let you lift off from your driveway, buzz the interstate on your way to work, land, all with no apparent navigation, alert or warning equipment. Will they let you fly it at night or in bad weather? I drive past an airport on my way to work. Can you imagine getting into a pissing contest with an MD-80?
  • Wasn't there a "jetpack" of sorts.

    I believe a personal jetpack was built in the 1950's. If anybody admits to remembering the excreable Jive Bunny, there was footage of it in the videoclip. It worked, the problem was simply the fuel capacity was only sufficient for a few minutes of flight. IIRC one was also used in the LA Olympic closing ceremony.

  • How many people could afford to purchase and maintain a helicopter? I took a few flying lessons in a Cessna 150. I asked the instructor about flying a helicopter. He said that it cost $200 an hour to rent their helicopter, about 10 times the cost of renting a Cessna 150 at that time. Signing up for the Army seemed to be the only affordable way to learn how to fly a helicopter.
  • Okay, my heart went into fibrillation when I read this...
    It's hard enough to drive a modern car, let alone a light aircraft. Trust me - I'm a student pilot.

    Secondly - what kind of driving test are yuo going to have: the JAA (Europaean FAA) have a 45-hour syllabus for their PPL (H)[0]. Are all these wannabee pilots going to take this kind of syllabus? Or are we going to let hoards of "Wannabees" lose on our airspace?

    Thirdly - what about emergencies? Imagine this - you're an amateur private pilot, spluttering along at 300ft above your office above London. Your engine quits. You have three seconds to recover, if you do nothing.

    Crash. Your life, plus tens or hundreds on the ground.

    Fourthly - Airspace. Most of the airspace over the City of London and other major metropolitan areas is Class "A" or "B" - and rightly so. the numer of heavy jet movements over this small an area is high enough as it is - without the menace of thousands of little "flies" buzzing around his engines. Can ATC Cope? I think not.

    Classes "A" and "B" are only open to IFR Traffic - Instrument Flight Rules. This is a VERY demanding skill - 50 hour course, and constant refresher tests. It's okay for Capain Speaking in his Scruggs Wonderplane with dual autopilot, radar altimeter, etc. J. Random PPL holder wouldn't hack it.

    Fifthly (and last), where are all these choppers going to be parked during the day? Realistically, you would be looking at a LARGE area for these things to land (Dispel all those images of flying betwixt the skyscrapers, I'm not scraping you off the walls.

    How would you feel about converting Central (or Hyde in London) Park into a large Helipad?

    I don't want to turn this into a boringrant - so here are my Ideas:

    1. Issue a sub-ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) licence, say 20 hours, with self-certification to HGV medical standards, similar to the (hopefully) forthcoming CAA NPPL.

    2. Create special Entry/Exit lanes to aa specially developed airfield for these kinds of aircraft. Devoted Public Transport liks go no end to helping place this away from the built up areas.

    3. Have specialised ATC to cover this - and to make it easy, keep inbound traffic at 500ft and outbound traffic at 1000ft (say). This keeps it pretty much 2D.

    4. Identifying - most aircraft are fitted with a Transponder - a device which shows a specific code on the Controllers radar screen (selectable on a device in the cockpit). How about making these devices compulsory, and individual - akin to a licence plate.

    [0]Private Pilots Licence.

    Just my 1.6p.
  • The truth is, 3 dimensions is alot safer when you are flying nimble devices like this. It would be hard for two people to collide if they tried to.

    Plus, there is vastly more volume of space, so "jams" would only occur close to the ground where speed limits could be enforced (by darwin if not the cops).
  • Cost: expect the first models to be very expensive, and geared toward military and other government organizations -- they hope that when a personal model comes available that it will be priced roughly the same as a high-end sportscar. It is very unlikely that there will be thousands of these whipping around your hometown anytime in the near future...

    Safety: this looks to me like the reason they're taking as long as they have been -- they seem very concerned about it, and have significantly over-engineered the system to make sure that operating conditions will be well below tolerances. It looks like it would be far more likely for your car to "break" catastrophicly than for this thing (e.g., four turbines and apparently the ability for [limited] powerless flight). They also plan to have an HUD, not sure what it will entail, but it should hopefully prevent airborne collisions.

    Training: users will be required to be trained (I couldn't find any specifics on what that will ential), and a retinal scan will be used to enable the device for flight, to ensure only authorized users can fly the thing.

    Landing footprint: any flat surface larger than a kitchen table.


  • I saw some links to this waaaaay back on Ars Technica last year...

    Pssh! I saw this in a May 1960 Mechanics Illustrated. (MIMI wore a two-piece swim suit.) Old stuff! Beware the codgers in your midst!

    "I will gladly pay you today, sir, and eat up

  • What with this rash of 'flying idiot' posts? We have those already they're called pilots. I'm sure lots of people had the same paranoid complaints when flight became affordable. I'm sure the FAA won't let you waltz up to one of these things and go to the mall, you'll have to go get a pilot's license. Nor do I think the FAA will let you land in your backyard or fly through metropolitan areas at low altitude just because you can. Expect to drive to the local airport to fire it up and land in another airport when you're in civilization.

    The only thing revolutionary I see about these things is for military applications and sport flying, not your work commute.
  • If you folks like the solotrek, check out

    Also very interesting. Someone WILL conquer personal VTOL!!!!

  • and then there would be me, watering my lawn from 50 feet in the air!

    ...or some neighborhood kid could be doing a different type of watering on your lawn...

  • The issue is air traffic control.

    Like packets zipping through routers, personalized air travel will need to be efficient, safe, autonomous and affordable to deploy on a large scale. Nobody wants to be the first "dropped packet" in such an air traffic control system. I think that the first step to deploying such a system is to do it first in 2D (on the road with roads and bridges) and then in 3D in the air. As it exists right now, the existing commercial air traffic control is out of date and they should practice there first to work out the kinks.

    There's enough (in the words of George Carlin) 'assholes and idiots' on the road and I, for one, would not be happy facing a rush hour of newbie pilots playing Q3 Arena on their HUD as I try to fly into work.

  • If no one else had flying cars. Half the dipshits on the road aren't even qualified to drive much less fly.

    I'm working on teleportation but barring quantum games you need to create a black hole for the initial wormhole and people get testy when you do that on the planet.

  • Trolls post to Slashdot
    Portman, grits, and ass pictures
    Having no life sucks

    All generalizations are false.

  • Here. skycar990907.html
  • Once I vest, I'm gonna buy me some acreage out in the middle of nowhere, telecommute to $location, and use my personal copter to survey my domain.

    It looks like an excellent walkabout device for people who live in remote locations and don't have to worry about commuters.

    It'd never "fly" downtown, though.

  • Wasn't there a "jetpack" of sorts. It was a helicopter with impellers, retinal scan, backup systems.

    They wanted you to work there for free, and then you might get a chance to see one. I have not seen a word of it since.

  • So personal flying is going to be the next big thing? I don't think so...

    But to those people who worry that it will take off in a big way, rest assured; it's not going to become the preferred method of transport for the masses in the next twenty years.

    You have to bear in mind that this is going to be very very expensive, if it ever gets off the ground. So that reduces the risk of having the air as crowded as the LA freeways. Next, the national aviation authorities are going to be as strict as possible with giving out licences to fly these things. Just think about compulsory genetic testing to check for a "possible tendency to [alcoholism,drug abuse,short attention spans,*] resulting in refusal of licence, and random drug and alcohol tests upon landing, with instant revocation of your licence if positive...

    Then if telecommuting picks up even more, there'll be fewer and fewer people needing individual transport like that just to get to and from the office... Trnasport will tend to be more and more family oriented (I believe), especially for holidays.

    So if it ever catches on, it's going to stay a professional tool (like police, but also maybe farmers and photographers) and a rich playboy's plaything.

    But if you want to play at James Bond right now, you can!
    Check out the AutoGyro.

    Here are a couple of things to get you started

  • Wouldn't it be more funny if the prototype-tester went straight through the trade show roof?

    "And here we have the prototype X-G3... *crash* Oh shit. Well, we had the X-G3."

  • What? What crack you smoking when you watch the Discovery channel?

    Like, what 'remote regions of Europe?' You mean northern Finland? Commuters? Who the fuck would want to commute to Lapland? and, like, in one of these they'd likely freeze anyway...

    Catch on? They're doing wind-tunnel tests, you fool... there are some jet-pack rescue systems out there, but nothing like this was being used by commuters in Europe for trips in '95. Well, unless you mean an acid trip...

    (Excuse me, but no mod points at the moment, so I'm trying to be funny)
  • A personal helicopter sounds just downright dangerous to me. I don't even trust my neighbor not to bash the cars he is trying to parallel park between.

    But what could be better is a small little electricmotor scooter. [] It may not be as cool, but just a tad safer and you can get one today!

  • But what could be better is a small little electricmotor scooter. It may not be as cool, but just a tad safer and you can get one today!

    I really like the idea of this, even though the claimed range/charge time ratio (I'm looking at the "Electricycle") borders on the impractical.

    It always irritates me, though, to see sellers of electric vehicles make the claim of "zero air pollution." Where do they think the electricity is coming from?


  • Rocket Belt was Hydrongen Peroxide Powered and most famous - built by Bell Textron. Flight duration of about 20 seconds or so, that's what flew in the LA Olympics and the Michael Jackson Concerts and In thunderball, etc.
    The Jet Pack was a different animal all together. Strap a cruise missile engine to your back, encase the turbine with JP-8 (or whatever they had then). Didn't last long, but it did lead to the development of the WASP.
  • There's a comprehensive list of strange flying machines (including the SoloTrek XVF) at... bies/aviation/msub20.htm []

    If you're looking for your flying cars, check out the first couple of links.

    Jonathan Hunt
  • Has anybody considered just how *cold* flying one of these devices would be? I might be persuaded to try one in an Australian summer, but winter - I don't think so.

    Not to mention just how noisy the gadget would be . . .

  • Remember, folks, the FAA has a long way to go before you can lift off in your own personal chopper.

    Besides, hell will freeze over before I'd feel safe flying around my city in one of those things. I'd have to fly past a somewhat seedy neighborhood on the way to work, and I can just see guys "busting a cap in my ass", as they say. "Hey, look, there goes a guy in one of them homemade cheap choppers! See if you can get him with your nine."
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @06:12PM (#832346) Homepage Journal
    In a few scenes in the STAR WARS® movies, traffic can be seen overhead moving in straight lines. Anyone care to comment on a system like this?
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! []
  • by arbitrary ( 168829 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @07:38PM (#832347)
    For those of us who are a mite bit impatient, check out This link [] ( tm ) for instructions on how to make your own "ULTRALIGHT" FAA-License free chopper. Nifty.
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @05:41PM (#832348) Homepage Journal
    "Why were you late for work, Dave?"

    "Geese migrating." *spits out a feather*.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by Chasuk ( 62477 ) <> on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @05:35PM (#832349)
    Can you imagine what it will be like if these things take off? Er, I mean, can you imagine what it will be like if these things get off the ground? Wait! Try again - can you imagine what it will be like if these personal helicopters become popular, and tens of thousands of them are whizzing about overhead?

    I'm flying to work, and I'm stuck in traffic three rows thick, which I have to navigate horizontally _and_ vertically? And how horrific would a three 'copter collision be, when, not only would the "flyers" be killed, but the innocents below, crushed and sliced by falling debris?

    Of course, there would now be the loser who would hop in his 'copter to fly across the street for a loaf of bread - the coolness factor might make the temptation too great - and then there would be me, watering my lawn from 50 feet in the air!
  • by Rudolfo ( 111984 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @05:21PM (#832350)
    Its the year 2000! I was promised flying cars! Where are my flying cars!

    They also promised us worldwide nuclear destruction. Sometimes life is unfair.
  • by lordpez ( 126699 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @05:17PM (#832351) Homepage
    Its the year 2000! I was promised flying cars! Where are my flying cars!
  • by emgeemg ( 182902 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @05:23PM (#832352) Homepage
    If you thought that moron driving down the highway in his SUV doing 90mph while talking on his cellphone was bad, you just wait! That'll be just what I need. Idiots in personal helicopters distracted by cellphones, crashing into my house.
  • by buff_pilot ( 221119 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2000 @07:54PM (#832353) Homepage
    I hope the glass is half full on this one, but it will probably be empty instead. It's a great theory, one that's been tried time and time again. The Hiller flying platform being one of the first and most recognizable: Lots of other folks have built upon a similar theme, most with multiple engines, some with ducts, some without, but ALL of them have a larger duct area or rotor span. I just don't think they'll get the thrust, much less handle the control problems. for some more examples (that are flying): ml

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.