Leave it to NASA to bring our dreams of cruising to work in a flying suit closer to reality. The one-man electric Puffin plane is 10 times quieter than hushed helicopters, takes off vertically, and cruises at 300 mph. It sounds too good to be true, but the concept plane might become a reality soon enough.
The Puffin's electric motors have a number of advantages over internal combustion engines—mainly, they are more efficient, with the ability to generate major propulsion using small motors and minimal heat.The electric motors' efficiency also makes electric planes quieter than regular aircraft, and that means the Puffin could be ideal for military operations, courier trips, and yes, everyday personal travel.
NASA's Puffin isn't ready for prime-time yet, however. Researchers hope to have a one-third size, hover-capable model of the Puffin ready by March. And by, NASA hopes to test the Puffin's ability to transition from cruising to hovering. NASA researchers still have a lot of work to do on the Puffin's range—it can only cruise for 50 miles—but they anticipate that new technology could allow the Puffin to travel 150 miles without stopping by 2017. In the meantime, we'll be transforming our driveway into a small runway in anticipation.
[Via Scientific American]