FAA gives approval for new flying car tests in US airspace
December 17, 2015 – The US Government has given the go-ahead to flying car company Terrafugia to perform air tests of a mini-model of its next generation air-car.
Dubbed the TF-X, the new flying car is designed as a hybrid engine, tilt-rotor vehicle. The company says it will have a range of 500 miles and fly at 200 miles per hour.
Able to seat 4 adults, it is supposed to be able to take off from a level clearing of 100 feet in diameter.
Like the ground-breaking Cirrus Design SR22 and SR20 aircraft, the TF-X will have a parachute which the driver-pilot can deploy in an emergency when he assesses that a normal landing is not possible.
The dimensions will be kept to certain limits to enable it to be parked in a normal garage. And the battery for the electric motor can be charged from a domestic socket.
No pricing has been indicated other than it is expected to be within the range of “a luxury car”.
The production version is not expected for the next 8 to 12 years. Terrafugia is encouraging interested parties to buy its Transition car first, as this will be rolled out earlier. It says that owners of the Transition will get priority when the TF-X is sold.
The only problem with this is that the Transition looks goofy compared to the TF-X.
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Dubai firefighters to get jetpacks for skyscraper fires
November 16, 2015 – With growing numbers of towering skyscrapers in the city, Dubai has placed an order for jetpacks for its fire department.
The single-man jetpacks, manufactured by Martin Aircraft Company, can be manoeuvred by the pilot to a height of 3,000 feet. It can travel at 74 kmph and has an endurance of 45 minutes.
A statement by the New Zealand-based company quoted Dubai’s Civil Defence Director Operation, Lt Col Ali Hassan Al Mutawa, as saying: “The introduction of Martin Jetpacks into our fleet of emergency response vehicles is another example of how Dubai leads the world.”
Dubai reportedly ordered 20 of the jetpacks but no costing was given by the parties involved. However, previous reports priced them at about US$250,000 each.
The deal was signed at the Dubai Air Show and deliveries are expected next year.
Quicksilver opts to wind up
November 2, 2015 – An airplane company, Quicksilver, whose skeletal models made owning and flying an aircraft eminently doable, has opted to dissolve.
This, despite having sold enough kits to have an estimated 15,000 of its Experimental planes up and flying.
Quicksilver models were quite popular in Asia up to a few years ago. The Temecula, California-based company confirmed the dissolution move to AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). But the owners said that while the factory will be closed, parts will continue to be offered by Air-Tech in Louisiana, which has been offering these since 1977.
The owners, Daniel Perez and Will Escutia, reportedly said they will continue to retain the intellectual property rights to the planes and may sell them some day.
Business had been declining to the point that the profits could not support the expenses, they said, hence the dissolution.
If you are in Malaysia and want to fly a Quicksilver plane – described by some fans as a go-kart with wings – you can try looking for them at Malacca airport. Unfortunately, the Nusajaya Flight Park, in Johor, Malaysia, where they were once the Belles of the Air is no longer in operation.
Home is where an actual plane is your chandelier
October 19, 2015 – A developer is restoring a vintage plane which is going to be hung from the ceiling of a luxury home he is building in Malibu, California, The Wall Street Journal reported.
There will be ample space to display it as the living room will be 120-feet long.
Mr Scott Gillen, who is both the developer and architect, said he has already bought the plane and is now restoring it. “It’s really killer,” he is reported as saying in The Wall Street Journal. The Journal did not mention the make and model of the plane.
The two-storey house will be 10,300 square feet and come with a guest house, sitting on a 2.5 acre site.
This unusual property, slated for completion in 2016, has a price tag of US$60 million.
There are homes where you can taxi your plane to a hangar adjoining your house, but this house takes bragging rights to a new level.
Indonesia rolls out the red carpet for foreign private pilots
March 1, 2015 – Indonesia is having a host of aviation events this year and is welcoming foreign participation.
It is reaching out to owners of General Aviation aircraft to fly in and take part in the static displays, and in some cases, perform in aerial events.
The series is called the Indonesia International Air Show 2015 and is organized by FASI and the International Air Show 2015 Committee.
This year’s calendar will open with the 10th Jogja Airshow 2015. It will take place from March 13 to 15 at Parang Tritis Beach, Yogyakarta.
This will be followed by the North Sumatera Airshow in Medan, from April 23 to 26.
The next item will be the Sriwijaya International Airshow and International Paramotor Competation in Palembang from April 30 To May 3.
The last item is the West Sumatera Airshow 2015 at Padang in September 2015.
Pipistrel’s Panthera hits a roadblock
March 15, 2014 – One of the hottest newcomers to the General Aviation world, the Pipistrel Panthera, needs to go back to the drawing board, delaying its launch.
The company said this was because the engine it had built the plane around, the four-cylinder Lycoming IO-390, has not been approved for auto fuel use by Lycoming. The use of auto gas would have been a major selling point as Aviation Gas is under threat.
The company will now work with the heavier, longer six-cylinder Lycoming IO-540V.
The Panthera made waves when announced because of its sleek shape, and proposed 200 knots speed and fuel burn of 10 gallons per hour. The retractable undercarriage and three doors for a four-seater also were plus points.
It will be the first single engine airplane with a retractable undercarriage under Part 23 certification in decades.
The plane will also be equipped with the Garmin GTN 750/G500.
Pipistrel’s original target date for certification was in 2015.
Its website lists the starting price as Euro 385,000.
Read more here.
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