"Historic" Aircraft Up For Bid

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It accommodates only the pilot, has never flown more than a couple of feet off the ground and, if you buy it, you have to sign a contract saying you'll never try to duplicate even the meager test flight. So, why would anyone pay $1 million for the SoloTrek XFV strap-on flying thingamajig? "It has a tremendous amount of historical value," claims Trek's CEO Michael Mosier, who put the ducted-fan device on eBay on Friday. The aircraft is the first-generation prototype of a contraption designed to whisk soldiers over swamps and minefields. The two ducted fans are driven by a gasoline engine and are designed to take a 180-pound soldier as high as 10,000 feet, as far as 100 miles and as fast as 69 mph. This particular model has only hovered a couple of feet over the ground. "We didn't want to test it higher than we were willing to fall," said Moshier. The updated version has a better engine and controls. The U.S. military is funding the project. There's no word, however, if the taxpayers will get a refund on the first machine, which went on eBay with a minimum bid of $50,000 and which Moshier expects will attract more than $1 million.

NOTE: AVweb's previous coverage of this contraption includes stories in 2002, 2001 and 1999.