NASA Concept Offers Personal Aircraft Flight for All

January 20, 2010

You might think that '87 Stanza in the driveway is a pretty sweet way to get around town. But NASA, the people responsible for putting human beings on the moon, imagine a future in which we may not even need roads.

The Puffin personal aircraft concept showcases a vehicle that is electrically propelled and capable of vertical takeoff and landing, making it ideal for urban areas where parking can be rather dodgy.

NASA estimates the dimensions of the Puffin would be roughly 12 feet in height with a 13.5-foot wingspan. Theoretical performance specs include cruising at 150 miles per hour and more than 300 miles per hour flat out.

However, like many all-electric vehicles, range is an issue, and they estimate it at a mere 50 miles. Of course, battery technology continues to evolve on a daily basis, to expect that limiting factor to become less of an issue as battery density is improved.

NASA says it foresees the Puffin's most obvious and immediate usefulness in covert military applications, with its near-silent motor and all - and that actually makes a lot more sense than trying to market a vehicle like this as a consumer product. Honestly, large, exposed, metallic spinning blades sound kind of like a recipe for drunken bar-hopping disaster to us. Might want to consider a name with a little more zazz, also.


Source: Scientific American