Aeromancer Flight Design Inc. Summerland, British Columbia
The Lift-Jet "Secret"
After hundreds--if not thousands--of years of dreaming and yearning, only in the past hundred years has mankind satisfied the desire to experience Personal Flight. Even now, with the advent of ultralights and small helicopters, the experience has proven unsatisfactory and limited, hardly the "flying like a bird" of our imaginations, and a far cry from the ideal "Jetson-type" concept. It is also inaccessable to the vast majority of people who would like to make it an integral part of their lives. Proof of this can be found in the large proportion of civil aircraft that are built by average men and women in their garage or basement, as their only economic means of getting into the air. Evidence of a huge pent-up market can also be seen in the large number of new designs available. Increasingly, inventors are patenting novel airships, ultralights and small helicopters--and the large corporations are starting to take notice! While the long-awaited "market-buster" is still in hiding, there is a general sense that the "Backyard Flyer" must be right around the corner.
As someone who built his first co-axial rotor at age 10, and with 56 years experience in aeromodelling, I have a deep understanding of the History of Personal Flight.
In attempting to discover why the "Backyard Flyer" problem had still not been solved, I found out that any successful candidate would not only have to be very easy to fly and very, very safe--it would also have to be SELF-EVIDENTLY safe. That is, just like the popular para-sail, complete novices must be able to see for themselves that there is no way to "crash". The 'easy-to-fly' part is self-explanatory. After all, the main drawback of ultralights and small helicopters is the heavy burden of flight-training that goes with it. Based upon these requirements, my Lift-Jet concept evolved slowly, using the following rationale:
In the 1950's, while testing a variety of Flying Platforms, the US Army discovered that they were the easiest to learn of any air-vehicle in existence. Because of their intuitive 'tilt-to-control' operation, small platforms could be mastered by practically anyone in 20 minutes or less. The revolutionary development by Aeromancer Flight Design has been to make this easy-to-fly vehicle also virtually crash-proof, by adding an assembly of Descent-Vanes. Also known as a "parachute-wing", this patented concept provides a soft landing, from any altitude, in the event of a loss of power. (An additional benefit of the parachute-wing is the superior performance over the original flying platform.) During level flight, the wing-equipped Lift-Jet, at 55-60 mph., is as fast as any equivalent-size ultralight and has a 150 mile range--making it a very practical utility vehicle, especially in remote locations.
Initially, recreational users and resource workers, operating in areas such as Alaska, Canada, the Australian outback, and the western mountain States, will account for most of the sales. However, within a short time, as it establishes a good safety record, the lowered cost of manufacturers insurance and other savings will reduce the purchase price of a Lift-Jet--perhaps as much as by half. Eventually the Lift-Jet will find wide general acceptance. New, unanticipated markets will develop, and the sales-curve will quickly become exponential.
The combination of ease-of-use, practicality, safety and, especially- perceived safety--makes the Lift-Jet the only design to fit the requirements of a true Personal Backyard Flyer--one that is capable of capturing a mass market. However, that isn't the big "secret" we alluded to. The "secret" is simply this: The first successful Backyard Flyer will spark a HUGE, globe-spanning industry; a transformative technology that will change the very fabric of western society! Besides transportation patterns, the Lift-Jet has the potential to alter our psycho-social and philosophical outlook as well. Given its' power to enhance personal, individual freedoms by increasing mobility and efficacy, we should expect a greater drive towards exeptionalism and a willingness to take on the problems of the future. A growing community of "napsters" (those who operate in this new, 3-D "nap-of-the-earth" environment) will exhibit a greater confidence and a willingness to accept the challenges the 21st century will bring.
So, just how big could this market become? At least equal to the existing ultralight/homebuilt sector which--depending on the sources or categories you go by--is anywhere from 30-80 Billion dollars annually. Add-in the cross-overs from recreational vehicle markets, and the upper range is anyone's guess. And let's not forget the market for a Safe-Drone. According to the Auditor General, drones are expected to contribute another 80 billion to the US economy in the next three years!