Vertipod could be the Segway of the Skies

by James


I remember watching episodes of Jonny Quest and seeing flying pods being used by the bad guys to hunt down Jonny and Hadji. I remember thinking to myself – man, those are so cool I can’t wait for the day we have those in real life! Well, according to a story in Wired, that day may have come with the Vertipod, a propeller-powered personal hover aircraft that operates like a helicopter in “ground effect.”

Quest pod

Dubbed an Optionally Piloted Air Vehicle (OPAV), the VertiPod can be operated either piloted or unpiloted for both civilian and military use. Whiel in Ground Effect, it will hover about 15′ feet off the ground and uses a cushion of air to travel on.

Air Buoyant, is the company developing VertiPod, and company CEO Pete Bitar calls it the “Segway of the sky.” And that’s not a bad analogy. The engine and propeller sit on the floor blasting air down while the pilot stands over it. Rudders steers the Veritpod in concert with the pilot who leans in the desired direction. The engine is 440cc’s and can run on either gasoline or ethanol – and can reach a maximum speed of about 40mph. And the cool part is that it’s so simply it can be started like a lawnmower.

While the military applications are obvious (the Army tried to make something similar work about 40 years ago), Air Buoyant seems to be aiming at the civilian home kit user as plans are for Vertipod kits to be sold for $10,000 with the promise of an easy weekend assembly.

Now if they could only get it to play MP3s.

Source Wired via The Giz

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