NASA develops one-man personal rocket concept
14th Apr 2010 | 09:10
Personal aircrafts are the vehicles of the future
NASA engineers have been working on new concept designs for personal aircrafts, with the company predicting what the future of air travel might look like.
NASA aerospace engineer Mark Moore came up with this latest vertical take-off and landing concept – called the Puffin personal air vehicle.
Puffins are eco-friendly
"If you've ever seen a puffin on the ground, it looks very awkward, with wings too small to fly, and that's exactly what our vehicle looks like," Moore told Scientific American, adding that the puffin is also known as an environmentally-friendly bird, because it hides its own excrement.
The Puffin's tail has four legs which double up as landing gear. The idea being that it lifts of vertically just like a helicopter, hovers for a while, before tipping forward to fly horizontally.
The Puffin concept aircraft would be an electric-powered, 12ft (3.7m) long, 14.5ft (4.4m) wingspan personal rocket weighing in at about 300lbs (136kg) when empty.
The key word in that last sentence being 'would'.
Test flights planned
Moore came up with the design as part of his doctoral degree, which he then sold on to NASA.
The Puffin would have a top speed of 150mph (241kph), but could easily cruise at lower speeds, with a range of around 50 miles.
The US National Institute of Aerospace is set to trial a remote control one-third size model of Moore's concept aircraft to test out whether or not the theories can possible be made into reality.