Flying Machines in Your Two Car Garage

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A flying machine in your two-car garage was the promise heralded by Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines during the 1950s and 1960.  It was the era of Bob Cummings piloting his Aerocar on his popular TV show, and KISN radio watching over traffic with one in Portland, Oregon.  Expectations were high and often disappointed. High costs of establishing a network of two-ton, four-passenger eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) machines dissuaded even Uber from pursuing that goal.  Consider that skyports, vertiports, or whatever they ended up as are enormously expensive, and a network with charging stations and passenger accommodations would be a large investment.  Beyond that, each sky taxi would cost well into the high six figures, something …

Dale Kramer’s VLazair – Swinging a Different Way

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Dale Kramer’s Lazair was one of the most popular ultralights in the 1980s, selling over 1,200 units.  He re-engineered it a decade ago and flew the electrically-powered version in both land and amphibious versions.  Appearances at AirVenture saw him making daily flights over the area.  Your editor was privileged to visit Dale’s home, once owned by Glenn Hammond Curtis in Hammondsport – who also flew his creations from Keuka Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes for which the region is named. Ever an inventive soul, Dale has returned to the drawing board, in his own way answering the question of how to perform vertical takeoffs and landings in a small, light, personal aircraft.  To overcome pilot’s getting cricks in their …

Drs. Seeley and Moore Hit One Out of the Airpark

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The January 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics resurrects the perennial hope for a flying automobile.  The cover taunts, “(Go Ahead, Laugh) But NASA, DARPA & the FAA Are Serious.”  Sharon Weinberger taunts some makers a bit in her article, “Driving on Air,” as she looks at a variety of Transformer-style vehicles that can travel by land or air with the fewest inconveniences.  She notes the differences between propelling cars and planes, and looks at extremely different modes of giving people personal aerial transport, including the Moeller Skycar (“Inventor Paul Moeller has been developing the concept for nearly 50 years.  To date, the M400X has only hovered on a tether.”), the Martin Jetpack, The Cartercopter, and the Terrafugia Transition that’s been …