NASA Working On 'Flying Suit'

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It looks like a collaboration between Yves Rossy and the Martin Jetpack with a little Buzz Lightyear thrown in, but NASA says its Puffin "personal flying suit" could someday whisk its occupant from a standing start to 30,000 feet on 60 horsepower of battery power. The device uses two rotors to vertically lift and then propel the occupant at speeds up to 120 knots. The concept was unveiled at a meeting of the American Helicopter Society Jan. 20 by Mark D. Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center. Before you start making room in the garage, however, there's a serious side to the whimsical device that will keep it in military hands, at least for now.

The flying suit is envisioned as a stealthy vehicle for covert military missions or rescue operations. The electric motor offers quiet reliability without the air density concerns of air breathing engines. NASA claims the suit weighs only 300 pounds empty so composite construction is a virtual certainty. It's about 12 feet long and has a wing span of 14.5 feet.