The folks at Carter Aviation Technologies have been talking about their personal air vehicle project for a couple of years now, and on Sunday at EAA AirVenture they debuted the prototype. The four-seat gyrocopter combines vertical takeoff and landing capabilities with efficient high-speed flight and a 600-mile nonstop range, the company said. President Jay Carter Jr. said the aircraft is "super simple to fly and super safe." If the engine quit in flight, the rotor would slow descent to 1,200 fpm and the the landing gear would absorb that impact, providing a level of safety that "grandfather and grandmother going to visit their grandkids" could be comfortable with, he said. "It's like having a parachute that's always deployed," he said. The aircraft's aerodynamic design prevents porpoising or "bump-over," which can occur with some gyrocopters, Carter said. He expects to start flight testing soon and to have five copies flying by the end of next year.
Those aircraft will be deployed globally as demos. "We think there is a huge market worldwide, especially in developing countries where airports are scarce," Carter said. He plans to offer the aircraft as a kit with a two-week quick-build program hosted at the company facility in Wichita Falls, Texas, with prices starting at about $350,000 to $400,00. He said he is taking orders now and has 29 deposits so far.