World’s First Commercial Jetpack Out Next Year

As much a part of sci-fi futures as laser guns and teleportation, the jetpack has had a hazardous development process over the past four decades, proving as impractical as the hoverboard or flying car. New Zealand-based aeronautics company Martin Aircraft, however, has successfully developed the first commercial jetpack, to be launched next year.

The jetpack began initial testing back in 2011, before being put through a rigorous development process that has resulted in the advanced model due for launch in 2016. ‘Jetpack’ is a misnomer, though; Martin’s personal flying machine employs fans over the traditional rocket propulsion. The Martin Jetpack is built from carbon fibre and aluminium, making it lightweight and able to lift a person of up to 120kgs into the air.

The current model jetpack was paraded at the recent Paris Airshow, during which it took off vertically and flew for 30 minutes at speeds of up to 74kmph.

Martin sees the technology as a vital resource for emergency response units, such as police and paramedics, for which time is of the essence.  “I think the first responders will see that as a massive improvement to their capability,” Peter Coker, CEO of Martin Aircraft, told Reuters. “Naturally for the ambulance service getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time [is crucial].”

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

NASA Launches 10-Engine Electric Plane

NASA is testing a 10-engined prototype battery-powered VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aeroplane. The 10-foot wingspan GL-10 plane, codenamed Greased Lightning, is currently being put through a rigorous design and testing phase at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and is meant as the precursor to an even larger, 20-foot wingspan model, which may be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

“We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for,” said aerospace engineer Bill Fredericks. “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical take off and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version—much larger than what we are testing now—would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle.”

David North, a member of the GL-10’s engineering team, added, “We built 12 prototypes, starting with simple five-pound (2.3 kilograms) foam models and then 25-pound (11.3 kilograms), highly modified fiberglass hobby airplane kits all leading up to the 55-pound (24.9 kilograms), high quality, carbon fiber GL-10 built in our model shop by expert technicians.”

“Each prototype helped us answer technical questions while keeping costs down. We did lose some of the early prototypes to ‘hard landings’ as we learned how to configure the flight control system. But we discovered something from each loss and were able to keep moving forward.”

With initial tests promising – the GL-10 has passed its hover test, taking off vertically and hanging in the air like a helicopter – the biggest hurdle was to transition the craft from hovering to flying.

“During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again. So far we have done this on five flights,” Fredericks said. “We were ecstatic. Now we’re working on our second goal—to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter.”

The next test will assess the GL-10’s aerodynamic efficiency, and NASA engineers are optimistic that Greased Lightning will prove a success.

Thank you for providing us with this information.

Pilot Draws Penis With Flight Path on FlightRadar

FlightRadar24 is a wonderful app for those with an interest in aviation, allowing aerophiles the chance to follow air traffic flight paths. Granted, those paths are little more than lines that sometimes intersect, but one canny pilot decided to turn his flight path into art… that’s if you can call a crude drawing of a penis art.

The phallic scene took place over Florida airspace. Though the mystery pilot has not confirmed that they intended to draw the male member in the sky, it seems like an odd flight path to be coincidental. And, does the pilot have an accomplice? The green flight path above the prominent yellow doodle takes a strange deviation as it creeps to the right. Is that a second sky penis, but side-on?

Source: Mashable