AirScooter II Ultralight: Heinlein's Copter Harness?

In his marvelous 1954 novel The Star Beast, Robert Heinlein describes a unique mode of personal transportation - the copter harness, a kind of personal helicopter:

"They were half way home when a single flyer, hopping free in a copter harness, approached the little parade... John Thomas thought that he recognized that he recognized Betty's slapdash style even before he could make out features." (More.)

Fans of ultralight aircraft now have the AirScooter II Personal Flyer - Ultralight Recreational Vehicle to look forward to.

(From AirScooter II Ultralight Aircraft via Gizmodo)

The craft is a VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) craft with much simpler controls than the Sikorsky rotorcraft it resembles:

" intuitive flight controls are achieved by simple motorcycle-style handlebars and the absence of a tail rotor. To gain altitude, simply throttle up like you would on a motorcycle, turn left or right on the handlebars for craft rotation and move the handlebar assembly as a joystick for directional control (including reverse). No pedal controls are necessary, which means someone without the use of their legs can just as easily fly the AirScooter."

Best (and possibly scariest) of all is that, as an ultralight plane, a pilot's license is not required! Just $50K for the copter and you're off. Better watch the skies, John Thomas.

For more information, see the AirScooter Part 103 Helicopter article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/7/2004)

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