Unique Machines: Scooting the Breeze

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Inventor Woody Norris is on the verge of realizing his dream of building an inexpensive personal flying machine. When it goes into production sometime in 2006, the AirScooter II will cost around $50,000, should fit in an automobile garage, and will lift a single occupant into the air on the strength of an innovative four-stroke engine that weighs just 90 pounds but delivers 55 hp. “Our goal is to build something that’s fun to fly low to the ground,” says Dwaine Barnes, president of the AirScooter Corp. in Henderson, Nev. “That’s one of the reasons we call it the AirScooter: You scoot around low to the ground.”

The ultralight recreational aircraft takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, but it is far less difficult to operate. All the controls are built into the handlebars, and fliers will not require pilot’s licenses, nor will they need a great deal of room. Barnes says that AirScooter engineers performed several test flights in a 5-acre Virginia field that was bordered by trees. Based on those tests, he says, 2 acres “should be quite sufficient to get the thrill of flight.” 

AirScooter Corp.



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