April 15, 2005 1:00 PM PDT

Get ready for the AirScooter

An inventor mostly known for his work with audio speakers is going to try to popularize the personal flying vehicle.

The AirScooter II, a personal aircraft that can hover or fly at 55 knots, is the latest invention from Elwood "Woody" Norris.

AirScooter

Norris, who has developed high-end stereo speakers and an alarm that signals when a hip replacement might be in trouble, is one of the founders of AirScooter, a Henderson, Nev.-based company specializing in small, light-flying vehicles. Some of its other planned products include an unmanned helicopter-like flying vehicle and a diminutive "ready to fly" model that can be assembled in 15 minutes, the company says.

The AirScooter II, though, is designed for people. It weighs around 300 pounds and doesn't require a pilot's license, according to the company's Web site. The company is seeking regulatory approval but has said it expects to release the product this year.

The AirScooter II has two rotors that function in a similar fashion to helicopter rotors, but the vehicle is easier to fly, advocates say. It sports motorcycle-style handlebars that contain flight controls, but there are no pedals--so people without the use of their legs should be able to operate it, according to the Web site. The company also offers a movie of the device in flight (click here to download the video).

Pricing has not been set, but the company expects it will sell for less than $50,000.

On his Web site, Norris compares the device's design to the first modern helicopter, created by Igor Sikorsky.

"The original Sikorsky rotorcraft helicopter concept was based on a coaxial design much like the AirScooter," Norris wrote on the company's Web site. "What we've done is package the coaxial design in a modern lightweight craft that allows for intuitive control and incredible maneuverability."

Space exploration and aviation have become two of the leading obsessions and status symbols of high-tech billionaires and entrepreneurs. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, for instance, funded both SpaceShipOne and the construction of a new scientific telescope on the California coast.

PayPal founder Elon Musk, meanwhile, founded SpaceX, a private rocketry company.

Ed Iacobucci, an early investor in Citrix Systems, created Jetson Systems, which is meant to help jump-start a market for flying passengers between regional cities in planes that can carry four to six people. Tickets will cost more than seats on a regular airline, but passengers wanting to go from Austin, Texas, to Memphis won't have to route through Chicago.

People Express Founder Donald Burr has put together a similar company called Pogo Jet that aims to start carrying passengers in the relatively near future.

These airlines will rely on new types of aircraft coming from companies like Eclipse, founded by Microsoft alum Vern Raburn. Eclipse counts Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates among its investors.

16 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Saw the video
All things considered, this is really nice to see. However, even if this "took off", I can't imagine many people would know what to do once they're in the air. Could you make practical use of any personal flying machine without regulations? Talk about cutting through an Amazon forest full of red tape.

*Sigh* Still looking for the Jetson car to buy...
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Saw the video
All things considered, this is really nice to see. However, even if this "took off", I can't imagine many people would know what to do once they're in the air. Could you make practical use of any personal flying machine without regulations? Talk about cutting through an Amazon forest full of red tape.

*Sigh* Still looking for the Jetson car to buy...
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by montgomeryburns (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ban Monty Burns
I'm getting tired of your irrelevant repetitive posts Monty. Please get some help you obsessive freak. Seriously.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Get A Life Monty...
Don't you have anything better to do?
Posted by Lucky Bob (47 comments )
Link Flag
a better Idea.
I see these very smart people putting a lot of their time into these personal flying machines(segways and all), do they really think the world is ready for another round of pollutions? I'll suggest they put their heads together and try to come up with a great public transportation system, instead of these silly machines.
Posted by bit-looter (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"...Goood grief............
You and Hillary Clinton need to take your vacations togther.

Are you a No-NUKES kook, too...?!?

.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
a better Idea.
I see these very smart people putting a lot of their time into these personal flying machines(segways and all), do they really think the world is ready for another round of pollutions? I'll suggest they put their heads together and try to come up with a great public transportation system, instead of these silly machines.
Posted by bit-looter (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"...Goood grief............
You and Hillary Clinton need to take your vacations togther.

Are you a No-NUKES kook, too...?!?

.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We are in 2008 now, passing 3 years from 2005. No news about it yet.
Posted by ssc134 (2 comments )
Link Flag
We are in 2008 now, passing 3 years from 2005. What happen to this "AirScooter"? Have they revoked the launch plan of this vehicle.? Or govt. didn't agree for this.
Posted by ssc134 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This company is about as American as it gets! We are still pushing the envelope. When this thing comes out I am going flying! Naysayers will still be on the ground!
Posted by bringhomethemeat (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
If you can invest flying money on such a FLYING SCOOTER with limited potentials, may I suggest you consider working with me on my MASS FLYING (VERTICAL TAKE-OFF AND LANDING) CAR and push the envelope of vtol car flight:

ZyberDon
http://sites.google.com/site/jayflyingcar
Posted by ZyberDon (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
hi out there! does any one know the real scoop on AIR SCOOTER CORP.? OR WAS IT A SUPER CON JOB??
Posted by nugget4 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
airscooter, i think you owe the public an explanation!! was it bad mangment, squandering of funds or a big con?
Posted by nugget4 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.