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Emerging Technologies

Michael Fontanals

Part 1

Personal Flight

Personal flight can include a variety of cool toys and interesting gadgets. Anywhere from flying cars to miniature helicopters to, yes you guessed it, jet packs. Lucky for us you can even buy some of these flying machines but they will cost you quite a bit.

Personal fling is defined by 3 factors. The first is that it can only support one person in the vehicle at a time. Sounds silly but that is one of the factors that would allow you to fly these awesome contraptions without a piloting license. If you were to have passengers then you would no longer be classes as a recreational vehicle and there for you would have to comply with transportation laws. So don’t get carried away thinking you will be picking up chicks from the sky just yet.

The second is the weight of the flying machine. Once again if the weight is to hi then it gets classes as a flying vehicle and not an ultralight air craft. These restrictions help the government stop people from “pimping there ride” so that they can lift more weight. The last thing anyone wants is a 4 tone monster falling out of the sky on every street corner.

Lastly a personal flight pack must have the necessary safety equipment to prevent the flyer from causing harm to himself and others. Many of the new company’s producing prototypes for a jet pack are even including the air traffic controllers to avoid in air collisions with low flying plains and choppers. Most importantly though is the limitation on vertical decent. You are allowed to lift and lower your craft vertically but there are speed and force limitations so that you don’t wreck whatever is under you when you land and take off.

There are 3 main categories of personal flight vehicles that are available today. The first is a no cover frame. It is exactly what it sounds like. Your body is exposed to the elements and the propulsion is strapped to your back or feet. This is obviously the coolest but the least comfortable.

The second is a tight body frame. This means that you are typically lying down during flight and don’t really have very much wiggle room. This may prove difficult for anyone who doesn’t like tight places for very long. The advantage of this is you have some protection from the wind and rain.

The last category is the shell frame flyers. These are the flying machines that push the limit of the weight limits and are also the most comfortable. Often having internal heating and upright seats, it is easy to see why people enjoy them. They are the most expensive of the three and they are not very small at all. Most are the size of a van and use folding wings to make storing easier.


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