Owning / leasing a private jet is a luxury that most people will never get to experience, though some (including companies) have taken matters into their own hands, and built personal aircraft that are more affordable than not. Continue reading to see more.
5. Human-Powered Aircraft
Called the Snowbird, this human-powered aircraft has made history by becoming the first “wing-flapping machine to fly.” It “has a 105 foot wingspan, but weighs in at only 94 lbs.” The Snowbird ended up flying 475 feet for 19.3 seconds, at 16 miles per hour. Not an efficient mode of transport, but for nearly 20 seconds, a human flew like a bird.
4. Scrap Metal Helicopter
Love helicopters, but don’t have the money to buy yourself a Bell 206? Then building your own may be the only answer. A Chinese farmer used scraps found at his local junkyard and plans he found in books to build the working copter you see above. If a more powerful engine and safety features could be added, we may actually see this take to the skies on a regular basis.
The Pal-V is a very different take on flying vehicles – it’s slim, light, and uses a rotor instead of aeroplane-style wings. It completed its maiden voyage yesterday. On the ground, the machine handles somewhere between a motorbike and a racing car – its chassis is built to lean into turns, and the two-seater can hit 112mph on the ground. Once the engine stops, the propeller folds itself automatically into the driving position.
2. Terrafugia Transition
Finally, Terrafugia’s Transition flying car will be released. At $279000USD, this street-legal vehicle “has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car; last month, it flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes – commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet.” Around 100 people have already put down a $10,000 deposit to get a Transition when they go on sale.
1. Flappable Wings
Mechanical engineer Jarno Smeets wanted to fly like the birds. So, he built flappable, mechanical wings using “a special motion mechanism built around an Android phone and Nintendo Wii controller.” According to its creator, “just like birds, humans have to amplify their locomotion to get control and get familiar with their new body expansion – the Wings.”