I’m always interested in new forms of transport and thanks to modern product design systems, new materials and a few determined inventors inability to limit their imaginations.
The recent BBC news piece on Swiss ‘mentalist’ Yves Rossy’s home made rocket pack really is something else. Basically, the guy leaps out of a plane, his 3 metre wing unfolds and his four rockets ignite and off he goes.
He has soared to heights of 8,000 metres at speeds over 100 knots. It’s probably not surprising that Rossy is an ex-military jet fighter pilot and commercial pilot, so he knows a lot about flying.
It’s absolutely amazing and normally the kind of thing that’s mentioned in a conversation about the Darwin Awards, where some idiot has removed themselves from the gene-pool by doing something absolutely stupid and deadly, like attaching a rocket to their back, igniting it and flying into the ground.
It seems that he was formerly known as Jet-man but a sponsorship deal with Hublot watches meant he became Fusion-man to coincide with a watch name. Still, hey, you can’t blame him, the damn thing cost about $300,000 to develop.
Mr. Rossy’s madness led me to search for some more you tube fun. Looking for Swiss Rocket-man I found some chap who’d attached a rocket to his bicycle, reaching a speed of 242 Kmph, which is actually faster than Mr. Fusion-man’s rocket glider. The video doesn’t show how he actually managed to brake but we guess he survived. There is something weird happening in Switzerland, seems they will strap a jet engine to anything that blatantly shouldn’t!
I also found an actual new product, the world’s smallest helicopter. The Gen H-4, from Gene Corporation, costs about $32,000 and has two, 4 metre coaxial, contra_rotating rotors which eliminates the need for a tail rotor. The four 125cc 2 cylinder engines use standard petrol. The Gen H-4 can fly up to 1000 metres, at 59 mph for up to 30 minutes. It’s really impressive but I’m not sure about nipping to the shops in it.
You can’t have a round-up of ‘Jetsons’ flying vehicles without talking about Moller. The company has two flying cars in development. The two seater M200D Volantor is a round, space-ship like platform that can vertically take off and land and costs around $125,000. The ship is software limited to fly at 10 ft and uses 8 Moller’s Rotapower engines and Rotafan ducted fan for lift and propulsion, although the maximum payload is 250 lbs. I think this is the one i would choose for myself as it does have the air of a Marvel comic baddie vehicle. The M200D is a prelim to Moller’s other big design, the SkyCar.
and the Skycar: