...Air Taxis And Door-To-Door Flying...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

The timeline works with the development and practical implementation of new-generation mini-jets, most of which will be ready for delivery not long after the test begins. Eclipse's 500, especially, is aimed squarely at this kind of air-taxi type of service and much of its order book is predicated on it. But even with little jets crisscrossing the country to neighborhood airports, there's a much loftier goal for SATS that takes out the middleman and returns flying to the owner/operator. Ohio University is among various institutions tapping academic brainpower to come up with the Popular Science dream of door-to-door flight, with a compromise that eliminates some of the practical impracticalities of such operations, like destroying the neighbor's geraniums. Dr. Jim Zhu told The Athens News that the major pitfall of taking off from the driveway is the havoc all the power needed to lift a sizeable vehicle can wreak on its immediate surroundings -- that's aside from the noise. He said there's not much advantage to flying over driving in the city (perhaps there's no rush hour in Athens) so he envisions transforming highway rest stops into takeoff and landing areas. The project's Web site says the goal is to produce a "family-sized" vehicle that moves from highway to flyway with little or no modification. He told the News he could have a flying/driving prototype in a few months with enough funding; he and his team, after three years, are still at the scale-model-mockup stage.