Vertical Take off Unvieled - History

Vertical Take off Unvieled - History

The Hawker Sidney Company unveiled the P-1127, a vertical take off figher plane to also achieve a high level of performance. The plane is powered by 7,000 hp Bristo Orion turboshaft engines. Its compressor can be turned either downward to generarte lift of backwards to generare thrust

Frontline Aerospace: Another Stavatti?

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A new drone, billed as a "Humvee of the skies," is raising some eyebrows among long-time aerospace watchers, who wonder if this is another case of Stavatti Aerospace, the company famous for its extravagant claims about advanced aircraft and weapons.

The previously unknown Frontline Aerospace unveiled its proposed vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle at a recent symposium in San Diego. Here is what we have from the company about its drone concept:

"Our VTOL-Swift Tactical Aerial Resource ™ – or V-STAR ™ – is the 'HUMVEE of the air' and provides a breakthrough solution for frontline military logistics and related Multi-Role Endurance (MRE) missions," said Frontline founder and Chief Executive Officer Ryan S. Wood. “With payload at the center-of-gravity, V-STAR ™ provides real mission flexibility,” he said, “since it can carry ITARS (intelligence/target acquisition/reconnaissance/surveillance) packages or weapons – then morph back into its primary role providing frontline combat logistics.”

*The modular payload approach allows for rapid change-out in the field – one minute providing troops with ammo, food, water and fuel – and the next minute providing tactical reconnaissance, communications and close combat support. "Frontline has tapped some of the most creative talent in the aerospace industry to unveil a Tactical UAV with superior speed, range, endurance, payload and mission flexibility," Wood said. *

The V-STAR uses a ducted lift fan with counter-rotating blades for take-off and landing, according to the company release its forward flight is then enabled by the company's “diamond-box-wing” and "ducted rear pusher fan." It is equipped with Rolls-Royce Model 250 gas turbines and flies at speeds of up to "288 knots with a 400-pound payload for 650 miles."

Now, to be fair, Stavatti was best known for its fancy website and calling up Pentagon offices to pitch their designs. There's also a big difference between designing a drone and building a fancy fighter. Writing over at Aviation Week's ARES blog, Graham Warwick took a serious stab at the V-STAR design, and essentially concluded that while there are no obvious flaws, there are some sensible reasons to be dubious about the company and its drone. "There are a couple of unusual aspects," he writes. "One is locating the payload on the CG, which is good, but the designers chose to fit it inside the lift-fan hub, which seems a bit limiting. The other is the recuperator, or heat exchanger, designed to reduce fuel consumption by transferring heat from the engine exhaust to air entering the combustor."

Another issue, he warns, is that "V-STAR seems more like a packaging exercise than a true innovation and "none of the technologies is new."

So, who is Ryan Wood, the CEO?

According to a lengthy reply left on Aviation Week's ARES blog, Wood is man of many talents:

*You describe me as an "energy consultant." I am an engineering-trained businessman with extensive technical marketing and management experience with firms such as INTEL, Digital Equipment Corporation and Toshiba, before embarking on a successful entrepreneurial career, including multi-million dollar deals in the energy industry. Whether the calculator-brigade or the DOD-schmoozing brigade regards those as credentials, I am too busy to say. Combat commanders who want to do things better are interested in V-STAR (tm). People who use the proven Rolls-Royce 250 engine series are excited about MicroFire (tm). *

There's one other qualification Wood forgot to mention. He's also an avid UFO researcher for an organization that seeks to* "clarify the UFO phenomenon, its agenda and history, and to implement the most effective way to educate the public and world governments to its reality and implications."*

June 2, 1954: Airplane Takes Off, Lands Vertically

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1954: A Convair XFY-1 Pogo aircraft makes a vertical takeoff and landing. It's a milestone in the checkered history of VTOL aircraft.

Using designs captured from the Germans, the Navy and the newly formed Air Force crafted two design studies in 1947 for creating a fixed-wing vertical-takeoff-and-landing, or VTOL, aircraft. The goal of the project was to build a fighter that could protect convoys but not require a large landing area.

Lockheed and Convair both won contracts in May 1951 to build prototypes of the aircraft, which resembled squat fighter planes standing on their tails. That earned the nickname (or epithet?) "Tail Sitter."

The prototype point-defense interceptor didn't need a runway, but that was about the only thing in its favor. It used huge counter-rotating propellors on its nose to lift off like a helicopter -- a very heavy helicopter.

After liftoff, it simply turned its nose horizontal and flew like, well a clumsy prop plane with big propellers. Landing was a matter of reversing the process and shizzing back into its helicopter mode to set down on its ample tail assembly.

The Navy gave Convair the only engine rated for vertical takeoffs and landings, allowing its aircraft -- the XFY-1 Pogo -- to actually make several vertical ascents and multiple transitions to horizontal flight. Did we say clumsy? This bird was a bear to fly.

The Air Force's version, the Lockheed XFV-1, used a less-powerful engine and never made a vertical takeoff. it was eventually fitted with conventional landing gear and made 32 horizontal flights.

Despite a lot of media hoopla, the VTOL had a very short moment in the sun. The Pentagon cast its lot instead with fast horizontal jets and powerful helicopters. Subsequent military experience with tilt-rotor aircraft has been less than happy.

Flying Taxis. Seriously?

Bell's concept model of a vertical-takeoff-and-landing air taxi vehicle, as unveiled in January at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

Two words for you: flying taxis. That's right. In the not-so-distant future, you'll open your ride-hailing app and, in addition to ground options like car, SUV, scooter or bicycle, you'll see on-demand air flight.

At least that's according to the optimists at South by Southwest, the annual tech-music-film convention in Austin, Texas.

When the flying taxi comes, most of us will be passengers. We might hail it on our smartphones and head to the rooftop, where a ride is waiting at the helipad. It might look like a minivan with wings and four seats or more like a gigantic drone.

All Tech Considered

Flying Cars Are (Still) Coming: Should We Believe The Hype?

Either way, it won't fly itself anytime soon, experts say. One seat will be reserved for the driver-pilot.

"If air taxis are going be what everybody wants them to be — thousands at a city, for example — we won't be able to find enough conventional pilots," said Carey Cannon, chief engineer of technology and innovation at Bell.

In a crowded pavilion at South By Southwest, Cannon has set up a virtual reality simulation of what it feels like to drive one of these small flying vehicles of the future. I decide to try it out.

The Two-Way

Drone Taxis? Nevada To Allow Testing Of Passenger Drone

He puts a headset on me and something like a joystick in my hand. I slip into a gamer chair. Only, I'm more than a gamer. I'm a trainer for Bell's computer software. I turn a dial for my VR flying taxi to lift off into the Las Vegas skyline. Only, I turn it too fast and it's a dizzying takeoff.

"Don't overreact," Cannon tells me as I push pedals and the joystick as aggressively as possible. "Smooth, small movements," he says, advising me to do the exact opposite of what I'm doing. How I and others drive will create training data for the artificial intelligence that'll take over much of the job.

The dream of flying cars is as at least as old as the automobile itself. Bell, which makes attack helicopters for the U.S. Navy, is working on this new project with another high-profile partner, Uber. The prototype, the Bell Nexus, was unveiled earlier this year. Boeing and Airbus also have prototypes of these flying cars in the works.

An illustration of a concept model of Uber's all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Uber hide caption

An illustration of a concept model of Uber's all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Uber has become the face of the aerial mobility movement as it has the most public campaign touting its work so far. Elon Musk says he'll get us to Mars. Uber says it'll get a millennial from San Francisco to San Jose in 15 minutes flat (instead of the two-hour slog in morning traffic). And its timeline for this flying taxi that does not yet exist is 2023.

The company laid out the challenges and opportunities of the flying taxi in a 2016 report, "Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation." In the highly cited white paper, Uber says: "Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground."

At a panel I moderated at SXSW, subtly titled "Death to Roadways," I asked the audience if they believed Uber's goal of flying taxis in four years. Half the room raised their hands. And when asked if they thought the taxi would be an option within a decade, nearly all hands went up.

NASA is another Uber partner. Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, was on the panel. While he thinks Uber is being a little bullish — he'd put the timeline further out, to the mid-2020s — Shin says it's close.

"Convergence of many different technologies are maturing to the level that now aviation can benefit to put these things together," he said.

The batteries that power electric cars can evolve further, to power flight. Companies can stockpile and pool data, and build artificial intelligence to take over air traffic control, managing the thousands of drones and taxis in the air.

And Uber, his partner, is really well-connected. While fighting the legacy taxi industry, Uber made so many government and lobbyist contacts, that that Rolodex can help grease the wheels — or wings.

To move quickly, Shin says, technologists and policymakers will need to coordinate. "If one segment is lagging behind, this is not going to happen," he said.


How To Stop A Drone? There's No Good Answer

China may beat out America, Shin says, because China has a "higher tolerance level for risk" in the development of new technologies. That could give China a "competitive advantage," according to McKinsey consultant Shivika Sahdev, who advises governments.

When a company wants permission to fly its imperfect prototypes over densely populated mega-cities, she says, "that's where the vehicle operators will go, that's where the system providers will go to, to be able to actually test it in the real world."

When we build the whizbang future, it's good practice to pause and consider the downsides. Right now in major cities, people in bumper-to-bumper traffic or riding the subway have to see each other (at least for a tiny bit). With flying cars, the haves can escape to the air and leave the have-nots forgotten in their potholes. That's the worry Cheryl Garabet expressed when she stepped to the microphone at the panel discussion.


Regulators To Ease Restrictions On Drones, Clearing The Way For More Commercial Uses

"I think of . all of us with money flying around, you know, looking down at the poor homeless, who have no options in that regard," she said. "How can cities prepare so that there's not this awful dystopian future for all of us with flying vehicles?"

It was a strong dose of skepticism to balance the techno-optimism.

While no flying taxi exists yet, Uber has dared to estimate the "near-term" cost of that San Francisco to San Jose trip: $43.

"The History of Fellatio"

By Annie Auguste
Published May 22, 2000 12:16PM (EDT)


According to recent press reports, Americans are having oral sex at alarmingly younger ages -- and with increasing nonchalance. (Note: Oral sex here refers exclusively to fellatio.) Oral sex precedes and often replaces sexual intercourse because it's perceived to be noncommittal, quick and safe. For some kids it's a cool thing to do for others it's a cheap thrill. Raised in a culture in which speed is valued, kids, not surprisingly, seek instant gratification through oral sex (the girl by instantly pleasing the boy, the boy by sitting back and enjoying the ride). A seemingly facile command over the sexual landscape of one's partner is achieved without the encumbrances of clothes, coitus and the rest of the messy business. The blow job is, in essence, the new joystick of teen sexuality.

In short, if we are to believe today's sociologists and culture mavens, oral sex has become ordinary. But the increased banality of the blow job is perplexing. When I was a teenager, in the bad-taste, disco-fangled '70s, fellatio was something you graduated into. Rooted in the great American sport of baseball, the sexual metaphors of my generation put fellatio somewhere after home base, way off in the distant plains of the outfield. In fact, skipping all the bases and going directly to fellatio was the sort of home run reserved only for racy, borderline delinquents, who enjoyed a host of licentious and forbidden activities that made them stars in the firmament of teen recklessness.

The first blow job I ever gave (after methodically groping my way past all the bases) was an act of faith. After finally figuring out how to manually manage my boyfriend's strange vestigial organ -- how to brandish, manipulate and handle his distended, tumescent pink love shaft -- I now had the daunting task of having to figure out how to manage it orally. Lick? Suck? Use your hands? If only the how-to books that exist today existed back then.

"Put both hands into the L position around the base of the shaft," says "Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man." "Lick the whole tip and then use your tongue to lick up and down the sides. Covering your teeth with your lips, and keeping your mouth taut, glide the head inside and lick the sensitive spot underneath with both the tip and flat part of your tongue . proceed down the shaft as far as you can go in one fell swoop." And on it goes. It includes tips on curiosities like dick whipping, hummers and tinglers, plus advice on how to breathe. (Men may fear the cavernous tunnel that leads to the primordial soup of the womb, but women risk death by gagging.)

Clearly even the most rigorous bout of coitus pales in comparison with the intimacy of fellatio, at least for the one giving it: nesting one's face in the musty, doughy pelt of your partner's loins bringing the full force of your tongue, lips, teeth (indeed, your entire face) to bear on the swollen, supplicant shaft coaxing the salty swell of seed-bearing spermatozoa burgeoning from deep within the vulnerable, fuzz-laced scrotum and, finally, partaking in the ultimate exchange of bodily fluids. (For what could be more carnal and, well, in your face than swallowing sperm?) All this is far more complex than the simple act of coitus, where the key fits in the ignition and things more or less just happen. Fellatio is hard labor, in every sense of the word.

Perhaps it's true that attitudes toward fellatio have changed. The infamous stain left on Monica Lewinsky's dress -- as coveted and totemic as it has become in the context of America's most famous blow job -- suggests a sterile, trite expediency that may reflect a general trend in America. In a recent article in the New York Times about teen sex, a source reported that kids "'had oral sex 50 or 60 times . It's like a goodnight kiss to them.' Dr. Levy-Warren refers to the recent shift in teen fellatio as 'body-part sex.'"

But generational blips -- like empires and economic upheavals -- come and go. As French writer/professor Thierry Leguay notes in his (not yet translated into English) "History of Fellatio," as long as the penis has the power to please, fellatio is not likely to be bumped off the bestseller list of all-time favorite male joys anytime in the next millennium or two.

What are the earliest traces of fellatio?

A well-known French paleontologist by the name of Yves Coppens suggested that the famous Lucy (the first prehistoric woman) practiced a sort of "paleo-fellatio." But the first clear real traces of fellatio are from ancient Egypt. Many of the more stellar examples are in the British Museum, where we find the famous myth of Osiris and Iris: Osiris was killed by his brother and cut into pieces. His sister Iris put the pieces together but, by chance, the penis was missing. An artificial penis was made out of clay, and Iris "blew" life back into Osiris by sucking it. There are explicit images of this myth.

As an aside, Egyptian women were particularly well known for their sexual prowess. Egyptian women are also purported to be the first women to use makeup.

What about other ancient cultures like China, or India, where you have the Kama Sutra?

Indeed, these are two other ancient cultures that ritualized fellatio. Ancient China was similar to India insofar as there were practically no sexual censures or taboos whatsoever. But it was in India where we find the Kama Sutra. Today the Kama Sutra has been reduced to a sort of caricature of a sex manual, but in fact it's a tome dedicated to the art of loving. An entire chapter in the Kama Sutra is devoted to an act called "auparishtaka," otherwise known as "oral congress." Oral congress involved eight highly descriptive and semicodified ways of performing fellatio. There are also detailed chapters on bites, scratches and other aspects of the aesthetic of the body.

You also cover a lot of Roman ground in your book.

Ancient Rome was a society of soldiers, of machos and rapists, and their perception of fellatio was interesting. The practice of fellatio in ancient Rome was perceived in terms of active and passive: The active one was in fact the person getting fellatio. In this case we're talking about the soldier, the virile male. The passive one -- usually a woman or a slave -- was the one giving fellatio or, to understand it more clearly, the one receiving the penis.

Today, of course, it's the other way around. We perceive the one who's giving fellatio as the active one and the one receiving it as the passive one. But in Rome to give fellatio was a passive act, a submissive act. For example -- and this is very clear in Roman texts -- to punish a person who stole potatoes from his field, a Roman might oblige the person to give him fellatio. He might stand up, drop his pants and say, "Now you're going to kneel down and take it in your mouth." The one who was required to give fellatio was the passive one, the one who went against the valor of virility. The Roman perception is interesting.

We [again] find some aspects of the Roman idea in certain cultures that are slowing disappearing, for example, in New Guinea. There are initiation rituals for young people that involve practicing fellatio on adults and ingesting the sperm -- sperm considered, of course, a vital, precious resource. These are not homosexual communities. On the contrary, the fellatio ritual is performed to make men acquire strong, active, macho values in a society where women are totally submissive and dominated.

The Incas were the same. There are traces on their pottery that suggest that, like New Guinea, fellatio was a practice modeled on domination and power.

Western European culture didn't necessarily ritualize fellatio, but there was a time when it was much more openly libertine than today.

Yes, even in Western culture going back to the 18th century. In 18th century France the upper clergy lived according to principles that were similar to Roman times. You had your chapel, your chateau, your wife and then all your mistresses. The bishops lived this way as well. The population of 18th century Paris was 600,000, with 30,000 recorded prostitutes. That's enormous. Enormous. In the Palais Royal 50,000 little booklets from the 18th century were found they were mini-directories of prostitutes and their specialties. One can assume that fellatio was a basic staple here.

Obviously the church has played a significant role in condemning fellatio.

As recently as the 19th century, sexual pleasure and any relation that didn't lead directly to procreation -- even within the structure of a traditional marriage -- were mortal sins. So fellatio was, and remains to some extent, a taboo. The only sexual activity sanctioned by the Catholic Church is coitus for the strict purpose of procreation. In the 19th century there was also a relationship between religion and medicine that came together under the general aegis of onanism. In fact everything fell under the aegis of onanism: fellatio, petting, lesbianism, masturbation. There were priests who were also doctors, and many of them wrote lengthy descriptions of apocalyptic things that could happen to anyone who practiced any form of onanism.

That's similar to notions about circumcision back in the Victorian era in America. Doctors and religious officials associated the foreskin with masturbation, which was in turn associated with horrific physical and mental aberrations. That's where we find the roots of systematic circumcision in America. There's not much difference here between the two cultures.

What about countries where women have few -- or less -- social liberties than contemporary Western women do? Islamic countries, for example.

Islam shares a common ground with Judeo-Christian societies in that fellatio is condemned in part because it is not directly linked to the act of procreation. In traditional Islamic cultures -- as in black African cultures -- there's a taboo associated with the mouth. The mouth is a "pure organ" it's an organ of the spoken word, of the truth. Fellatio, in this light, sullies the mouth.

You suggest in your book that this is why the Islamic veil covers the mouth.

Of course. There's an immediate analogy right there in the word "lips" between the vagina and the mouth. That analogy has obviously been overexploited today. Fellatio sexualizes the mouth, makes the mouth a sexual organ in and of itself. There are, after all, few things more suggestive than a highly made-up mouth. The Islamic veil can be criticized, but there's a logic behind it. What's being hidden is, in part, all that which is intimate.

There are also cultures that don't practice fellatio at all.

Yes, the Inuit culture, for example. Fellatio is something that takes away their strength, that can potentially weaken them. They have more important things to do, like hunting seal. In a culture where the mouth is not a sexual object -- we shouldn't forget that Eskimos kiss with their noses -- fellatio is a taboo. Interestingly, according to French anthropologist Jean Malaurie, Eskimos have extremely quiet sex. An Eskimo orgasm is barely audible. In a communal igloo lovemaking is rarely perceived [by others].

When did fellatio become an act unto itself?

It's hard to say, but it's safe to assume that as a contemporary phenomenon fellatio took center stage as an act unto itself when it began to figure prominently in X-rated films. "Deep Throat" and Linda Lovelace had a lot to do with making fellatio almost a cultural cliché.

You touch only lightly on Freud and his views about fellatio.

There's such an enormous amount of literature written by and about Freud -- and it is so easy to fall prey to certain platitudes -- that I've been careful here. Freud obviously spent a great deal of energy describing our oral, anal and genital stages, but it would be a gross simplification to say that people who smoke a lot or are heavily into oral sex are stuck in the oral stage. Freud doesn't speak directly much about it. He evokes it, but he passes quickly over the subject. Of course he heard about fellatio in the course of treating patients, but he never drew a specific theory as it relates to the oral stage in our development. It's somewhat of a paradox. I'm not a psychoanalyst, so I don't want to make any sweeping commentary here.

There has been some talk about teens in America having oral sex at increasingly younger ages and with increasing casualness. This seems very much the opposite of how it's perceived in France, where fellatio is considered more intimate than lovemaking. To what do you attribute these particular cultural differences?

We have to be careful not to generalize and stereotype here. But on some level Monica Lewinsky has become a symbol for us. She performed fellatio, talked about it, made money off of it. In her milieu, people engage in superficial sex they don't commit or engage themselves. It's not about lovemaking. In France we're more Mediterranean we don't take these things lightly. You'll never find a French Monica Lewinsky. She performed the most lucrative blow job in the history of humanity.

It's unlikely that Lewinsky was thinking about the historical or financial ramifications of fellating the president when she was doing it.

Maybe not, but she clearly profited from it later. If Lewinsky is a symbol of anything, she's a symbol of America's relationship to money and sex.

You cite a few polls in your book. One of them suggests that only 32 percent of women give fellatio out of pleasure the remaining roughly two-thirds do it as an obligation.

What's clear is that a certain number of women find fellatio violent. Some refuse completely to do it. They find it degrading, particularly the posture involved in performing oral sex. Certain women, on the other hand, consider it as an intimate exchange, a gift.

This reminds me of another study you cite in your book. A 1993 French report called the "Rapport Spira-Bajos" indicated that the majority of women who perform fellatio are educated women with a certain level of social status. It seemed to reveal a sort of social hierarchy around fellatio.

Yes, I think that's uncontestable. Women who have participated in certain social movements -- women's liberation, the right to abortion, the pill, etc. -- are the most inclined to explore their sexuality and hence have an impact on sexual practices on some level. And these women are usually more educated, are more aware, have a certain level of accomplishment in their lives. The idea of the lustful, country farm-girl-type bumpkin is really more a fantasy than a reality.

There's also a big perception/reality difference between what figures in a poll tell us and what images tell us. Images in, for example, pornography. There are around 15 states in America that have criminalized fellatio, and yet America is by far the biggest producer of pornography on earth. Curious for a so-called Puritan country.

Indeed. Pornographic cinema is an American business. There's very little of it going on in Europe. America produces an astronomical quantity of pornographic material, and almost all of it invariably features fellatio.

Are human beings the only mammals who practice fellatio?

There are certain male chimpanzees who lick their female mates, but that of course is called cunnilingus, and it seems as much an act of hygiene and play as it does an expression of innate sexual pleasure. It's certainly not an act in and of itself. While animals have an incredibly rich and complex sexual life, we humans are unique. As far as fellatio is concerned, at least as a sexual act unto itself, we human beings are all alone in the animal kingdom.

Flying taxi made by British firm poised for 2024 take-off

A Bristol-based engineering company has unveiled a “flying taxi” dubbed the VA-1X that can carry up to five passengers and is on course to start commercial flights in 2024.

Developers Vertical Aerospace (VA) said the craft would be “the world’s first certified winged all-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft” and plans to manufacture it in the UK.

VA-1X will be able to cruise at around 150mph with a useable range of up to 100 miles (160km), meaning passengers could travel from London to Brighton in approximately half an hour, compared to two hours driving, or an hour by train.

The aircraft will bypass road congestion, and will be certified to the same safety standards as commercial airlines. VA said its electric engine will mean trips will completely emission-free.

The firm’s ultimate aim is to make the VA-1X cheaper than helicopter flights while removing one of the major barriers to environmentally friendly air travel.

Prices for air taxi services are initially expected to be between a helicopter flight and a private car, and will decrease as adoption grows.

The aircraft should have reduced noise pollution, approximately 30x quieter than a helicopter thanks to its distributed propulsion system.

With a 15-metre wingspan and 13 metres long, the aircraft will be able to take off and land from existing helipads, and fly-by-wire flight control systems should make it simple to fly.

Efforts to develop electric short-haul vehicles capable of flight have been growing in recent years, with German start-up Lilium completing early flight-testing of a competing vehicle in October and Uber partnering with Nasa to develop software to manage airborne taxi routes. A number of other companies are also active in this field.

“eVTOL technology will revolutionise travel, combining the safety of commercial airlines with the disruptive environmental and cost benefits of the electrification of flight” said Michael Cervenka, CEO of Vertical Aerospace.

“With the launch of the VA-1X, we’re proud to be taking eVTOL one step closer to mass-market adoption, and supporting the next era of aviation.

“At Vertical Aerospace we believe that people should be able to quickly and affordably get from A to B without sacrificing the planet - with the VA-1X, this vision will start to be realised in under five years.”

E&T has previously looked at a number of different flying car projects that are currently in development around the world.

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Vertical take-off flying car vision unveiled

It's not quite The Jetsons, but the flying car people from Terrafugia are at it again.

The US company based in Massachusetts has just unveiled the TF-X, a car that comes with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability with electric motors and custom-made quiet rotors.

While the electric motors provide the vertical liftoff, a powerful turbine engine produces the go forward in flight mode.

Terrafugia are the same company that unveiled the Transition prototype last year which was effectively a folding-wing aircraft that required a runway of 500 metres for take-off, but with the wings folded away, it could be driven on the highway, despite looking like a duck out of water.

The Transition, which is struggling for certification in the US but the company has around 100 orders for, currently has a price tag of US$279,000 (NZ$330,000) and the TF-X - which is at least 10 years away from becoming a production reality - is likely to top that.

"The final pricing will not be set until we are much closer to delivery,'' according to Terrafugia.

"The biggest price driver is the cost of production. It is likely that TF-X will be more expensive than a 'normal car' due to the higher costs of the enabling light-weight materials, but with investment in automotive scale production, early studies indicate that it is possible that the final price point could be on-par with very high-end luxury cars of today."

Terrafugia claims the TF-X will be capable of carry four people in car-like comfort, have a non-stop flight range of at least 800 kilometres and be able to fit inside a standard single car garage - although if you buy one you might like to leave it parked outside to show it off.

Powering the TF-X is set to be a plug-in hybrid propulsion system that pairs a 300-horsepower main engine with two 600hp electric motors to drive the outboard propellers. It will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.

Learning to fly the TF-X is said to be about five hours for the average driver and will come with both manual or automatic modes "between approved landing zoes or airports".

The company says that it will be capable of taking off from a clear site of at least 30 metres in diameter and provide true door-to-door convenience.

Vertical takeoff flying car concept unveiled

News: a flying car capable of vertical takeoff and landing is being developed by the makers of a two-seater aircraft that turns into a car (+ movie).

Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia has announced it is working on a concept for a four-seater vehicle with motorised rotors, which can take off without the need for a runway.

TF-X concept

Dubbed TF-X, the vehicle's wings and rotors are designed to fold into the side of the car when it's on the road, making it small enough to park in a standard garage.

The ability to take off from standstill would allow owners to take to the air from their driveways. Once in the air, it is expected to be able to fly nonstop for 500 miles.

The TF-X probably wouldn't be suitable for escaping traffic jams, however, as it requires a 30-metre-wide clear space around it during takeoff.

A working model of the aircraft is expected to become available to purchase within eight to 12 years.


Meanwhile Terrafugia's earlier flying car concept, the Transition, which last year flew for eight minutes at an altitude of 420 metres during its test flight, is set to become available to buy within two years, priced at £190,000.

Here's more information from Terrafugia:

Terrafugia Shares TF-X Vision

Terrafugia Inc., the developer of the Transition street-legal airplane, announced its vision for the future of personal transportation. Building on its experience with the Transition program, Terrafugia has begun feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid- electric flying car, the TF-X. Incorporating the state-of-the-art in intelligent systems, fly by wire controls, and currently available technology, the TF-X will further increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation.

"This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition development," says Terrafugia CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich. "We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation."

Terrafugia&rsquos design team is excited to be looking ahead to TF-X development activities as the Transition programme shifts from research and development to certification, production, and customer support activities. The Transition serves as a Proof of Process for TF-X development and commercialisation through the many technical, regulatory, and usage challenges it has overcome.

By directly addressing congestion and other transportation challenges currently being faced internationally, widespread adoption of vehicles like the Transition and TF-X could result in significant economic benefits and personal time savings. Preliminary conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about the TF-X concept have demonstrated their willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation. Terrafugia is excited to be nearing production of the Transition and continuing to push the envelope of personal transportation.

Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is a growing aerospace company founded by pilot- engineers from MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and investors. The company name is Latin for "escape the earth." Terrafugia&rsquos mission is to build practical flying cars.

The concept of eVTOL aircraft emerged in 2011 through the AugustaWestland Project Zero (Italy), the Volocopter VC1 (Germany) and the Opener BlackFly (US). [2] It was officially introduced by AHS Internationnal and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 2014 during the "Transformative Vertical Flight Concepts Joint Workshop on Enabling New Flight Concepts through Novel Propulsion and Energy Architectures" held in Virginia. [3]

Since then, there has been a significant increase in interest among aircraft manufacturers for eVTOLs, and companies such as Boeing, Airbus and Bell have taken over the market : [4]

    introduced in 2017 at the Paris Air Show, [5] first flight in January 2018 , in development since 2017, first flight in 2019
  • Bell Nexus 6HX unveiled at the CES 2019

But in addition to these major aircraft manufacturers, startups have been playing an important role in the development of these air vehicles and had sometimes been leaders in technological advances. [6]

Uber Elevate Edit

eVTOL first came into mainstream media [ citation needed ] with the publication of Uber's Elevate whitepaper co-authored by the company's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden, product executive Nikhil Goel, and NASA veteran Mark Moore. [7]

EVTOL SPACs and Orders Edit

A number of eVTOL companies have announced SPACs - a vehicle to list on the Stock Exchange which is different to that of a traditional IPO. Those who have elected to list using a SPAC include Joby, Archer, Lillium and Vertical. [8] The company with the highest order book is Vertical Aerospace which announced orders for 1,000 eVTOLs in June 2021 including from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and aircraft lessor, Avolon Holdings. The single largest order for eVTOLs globally is the 500 order for the Vertical VA-X4 by Avolon. [9] United Airlines has also placed an order for 200 eVTOls with Archer. [10]

Civil use Edit

Most of the civil eVTOL aircraft are designed for urban air mobility, their typical roles are:

Vertical take-off business jet concept unveiled

A new concept from Pegasus Universal Aerospace envisages an aircraft combining the best of the helicopter and private jet worlds. Pegasus One, a ‘Vertical Business Jet’, would offer a choice of runway or vertical take-off (VTOL), with a range of 4,400km (2,376 nautical miles) or 2,124km (1,147 nautical miles) respectively, and a planned cruise speed of 796km/h (495mph).

Depending on take-off option, Pegasus One will be able to fly for three-and-a-half to six hours, supporting point-to-point travel. The aircraft will have six to eight seats, with power provided by two 2,300shp (specific horsepower) turboshaft engines. The all-composite airframe is targeted for certification and deliveries in five to seven years’ time from Pegasus’s facility in Pretoria, South Africa. The company has engaged an engineering partner to provide engineers and designers.

In offering Pegasus One, Pegasus is pledging to bring speed, comfort and style to travelers looking for transportation between busy urban airports, small and unpaved landing areas, yachts and helipads.

“We are working hard to build a full-scale cabin mock-up of Pegasus One, which we plan to bring to London to start a demonstration tour of Europe in 2020 to drum up interest,” said Dr Reza Mia, founding chairman. “We look forward to meeting forward-thinking investors and of course potential operators during the tour.”

To date, the business has been predominantly self-funded, together with angel investment. Pegasus is now seeking new investment and looking for interest from industry influencers and leaders. Pegasus estimates it needs around US$400m to bring the aircraft to market.

The company says it is close to identifying key suppliers for avionics, its retractable landing gear and engines.

About Author

Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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