Category: Future

“Jetman” Makes US Debut High Above Wisconsin
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By ABC News

Yves Rossy, the Swiss pilot who entered the history books as the first and only person in aviation history to fly with a jet-propelled wing , has brought his death-defying stunts to the United States for the first time, flying high above Wisconsin right next to a B-17 bomber.

Rossy, 53, the self-described “Jetman,” flew as high as 4,500 feet in his custom-made, jet-propelled wingsuit at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture show in Oshkosh this week.
‘Jetman Flies High Above Rio de Janeiro
Rossy Tuesday clocked speeds as high as 160 mph alongside the B-17 bomber as aviation fans watched in awe below.

“You know, that’s the Super Bowl of aviation here,” Rossy said. “It was absolutely fantastic to fly so freely.
“It was absolutely impressive for me. What I’m doing as ‘Jetman,’ it’s really gratifying.”

Rossy made headlines in May 2012 when he leaped from a helicopter with his four-engine wing strapped to his back and circled the skyline of Rio de Janeiro for more than 11 minutes.
The Swiss adventurer began developing the “Jetman” project in 1993. In 2006, after more than 15 prototypes, he used a wing he’d created with four model jet engines to fly for five minutes and 40 seconds. He carried only an altimeter and a tiny throttle control.

In May 2008, Rossy made his first official flight over the Swiss Alps in front of the media.
Months later, in September, Rossy crossed the English Channel by air, an event that was broadcast live to 165 countries. It took him 13 minutes.
Since then, Rossy has flown alongside two Boeing Stearman biplanes carrying the Breitling Wingwalkers, circled a hot air balloon and hurtled over the Grand Canyon. He performed aerobatic figures in November with two L-39C Albatros planes over the Swiss Alps.
Rossy will be back in the United States in September to appear at the national Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev.

Yves Rossy


Could We Have Commercial Flying Cars By 2014?
By Kevin Holmes

That’s the thing with the future—if you wait around long enough, those retro-futurist ideas that have populated our imaginations for so long will finally come true.

So it was with e-paper, and now comes the flying car, which has been associated with our cliched visions of the future since, well, since the advent of the regular car. Now, Dutch company PAL-V has made those dreams a reality with the PAL-V One (Personal Air and Land Vehicle).

On terra firma you’ll essentially be driving a sports car (albeit one that looks a bit like a helicopter), but once you activate the rotor and the tail comes out, then it’ll be skyward bound using the latest gyrocopter technology. And while the naysayers may say “But what about the laws of the land (and sky)!” the company claims it’s all legit and “within existing international rules for both flying and driving.”

Before you get too excited about flying around amongst the skyscrapers, the car is only in the prototype stage, but they’re aiming to get to work on the commercial version, of which they expect the first deliveries to be available in 2014. So start saving. It should be right about the time jet packs, hoverboards, Mars colonies, underwater cities, and that space elevator will be ready. Probably.

Test flights approved for world’s
first practical jetpack

News: New Zealand firm Martin Aircraft Company has been given permission by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority to conduct manned test flights on what it claims is the world’s first practical jetpack.

Martin Aircraft Company has been developing the Martin Jetpack for several years and this ruling could help it meet its target of providing working ‘first responder’ jetpacks to the military and emergency services by mid-2014. Test flights will be restricted to a height of six metres and must be conducted above uninhabited ground.

Speaking to international news agency AFP about the announcement, Martin Jetpack CEO Peter Coker said: “For us it’s a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we’re now in a position to commercialise and take forward very quickly.”
dezeen_Martin jetpack_8Martin Jetpack P12 prototype
The company’s latest jetpack design, named the P12, has a lightweight carbon fibre body and is propelled by a gasoline engine driving twin ducted fans, enabling vertical takeoff and landing as well as sustained flight.
dezeen_Martin jetpack_5Martin Jetpack prototype
A remote-controlled prototype carrying a dummy pilot soared to a height of 1,500 metres in 2011, and the company say that “changing the position of the ducts has vastly improved the jetpack?s performance, especially its manoeuvrability.”

Martin Aircraft Company hopes to release a commercial jetpack in 2015, with an estimated price of US$150,000-250,000 (£96,000-160,000).

Earlier this week, Elon Musk revealed the designs for a supersonic transport system comprising capsules propelled along a magnetic track by built in rotors. A Canadian company recently won a 33-year-old prize by building a human-powered helicopter, while a Massachusetts-based firm is working on a flying car capable of vertical takeoff.


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Billionaire reveals “Hyperloop” Supersonic Transport System

News: entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed designs for a supersonic Hyperloop transport system to link Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes

Hyperloop passenger capsule version cutaway with passengers onboard
Elon Musk, billionaire and founder of Paypal, electric-car firm Tesla Motors and space technology company SpaceX, has revealed designs for Hyperloop – a supersonic Jetsons-style transportation system for California. Travelling at over 700 mph, passengers would sit in a 1.35-metre-wide tube and be blasted through the 382-mile tunnel linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes.

After months of speculation, Musk envisions using magnets and fans to shoot capsules that float on a cushion of air through a long tube. “Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that seeks to change this paradigm by being both fast and inexpensive for people and goods,” said Musk in the design study.

Hyperloop passenger capsule version with doors open at the station
In the designs, passenger capsules that float on a cushion of air are transported at high speed through a low pressure tube, elevated over the land between the two cities. “The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule,” Musk said.

Passengers would not notice the speed and travel by Hyperloop would feel a lot like being in an aeroplane, Musk explains: “It should really feel just super smooth and quiet. And there’d never be any turbulence or anything.”

Musk’s twin city vision. San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes by Hyperloop
Well-known for electric cars, civilian space travel and a vision for interplanetary evolution and sending humans to Mars, the transportation tycoon says Hyperloop would be twice as fast as an aeroplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered. It would be both weather and earthquake resistant.

Hyperloop capsule in tube cutaway with attached solar arrays
“If we are to make a massive investment in a new transportation system, then the return should by rights be equally massive,” Musk said. “Compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be: safer, faster, lower-cost, more convenient, immune to weather, sustainably self-powering, resistant to earthquakes and not too disruptive to those along the route.”

Musk made the announcement via Twitter last night and a full 57 page pdf document detailing his ideas was published shortly after 9.30pm GMT. He held a 30 minute conference shortly after.

The designs for Hyperloop are open source and Musk has asked for feedback from others to advance the design and make it a reality.

Schematic of air bearing skis that support the capsule
The transportation tycoon first mentioned Hyperloop in July 2012 – leaving amateur designers, engineers and investors speculating ever since. Musk described Hyperloop as the “fifth mode of transportation” – the previous four being train, plane, automobile, and boat. “It’s not a vacuum tunnel, but a cross between Concorde, a rail-gun and air hockey table,” he said.

“The Hyperloop is something that would go effectively faster than the speed of sound. Conceivably you could live in San Fran and work in LA,” said Musk.

Proposed Hyperloop route – San Francisco to LA in 30 minutes
Musk has said his Hyperloop designs rival the “high-speed” train the US are proposing. “The $60 billion bullet train they’re proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile.” Musk said. “They’re going for records in all the wrong ways. The cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be in the $6 billion range.”

Passenger capsules – 4.43 ft (1.35 m) wide and 6.11 ft (1.10 m) high
Watch a recording of Elon Musk talking about Hyperloop:

Musk’s ideas for futuristic transport don’t stop there. Speaking online during a Google “Hangout” event with Virgin Group CEO and founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson on Friday, Musk said he has another idea, to rival Concorde — a vertical lift-off supersonic electric passenger jet. He said that he envisaged journeys over 1000 miles long being done in aircraft that would travel faster than the speed of sound.

“If you fly high enough and have the right geometry of plane, you can make the sonic boom no louder than current planes,” he said.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with Falcon 9 rocket. Photo: SpaceX
Musk commented that vertical take-off and landings would mean passengers could land closer to a desired destination – eliminating the need for large airports and long runways. Too busy – with electric car innovations, hovering reusable rockets and passenger flights to Mars – to launch into the vertical jet business just yet, Musk did add: “If somebody doesn’t do [it] then maybe, at some point in the future, I will.”

Read more transportation features on Dezeen »
See our archive about transport and architecture in space »

Here is the full announcement from SpaceX:


August 12, 2013
By Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect, CEO

When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world? Note, I am hedging my statement slightly by saying “one of”. The head of the California high speed rail project called me to complain that it wasn’t the very slowest bullet train nor the very most expensive per mile.

The underlying motive for a statewide mass transit system is a good one. It would be great to have an alternative to flying or driving, but obviously only if it is actually better than flying or driving. The train in question would be both slower, more expensive to operate (if unsubsidised) and less safe by two orders of magnitude than flying, so why would anyone use it?

If we are to make a massive investment in a new transportation system, then the return should by rights be equally massive. Compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be:

Lower cost
More convenient
Immune to weather
Sustainably self-powering
Resistant to Earthquakes
Not disruptive to those along the route
Is there truly a new mode of transport – a fifth mode after planes, trains, cars and boats – that meets those criteria and is practical to implement? Many ideas for a system with most of those properties have been proposed and should be acknowledged, reaching as far back as Robert Goddard’s to proposals in recent decades by the Rand Corporation and ET3.

Unfortunately, none of these have panned out. As things stand today, there is not even a short distance demonstration system operating in test pilot mode anywhere in the world, let alone something that is robust enough for public transit. They all possess, it would seem, one or more fatal flaws that prevent them from coming to fruition.

Constraining the Problem

The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper. With a high enough altitude and the right geometry, the sonic boom noise on the ground would be no louder than current airliners, so that isn’t a showstopper. Also, a quiet supersonic plane immediately solves every long distance city pair without the need for a vast new worldwide infrastructure.

However, for a sub several hundred mile journey, having a supersonic plane is rather pointless, as you would spend almost all your time slowly ascending and descending and very little time at cruise speed. In order to go fast, you need to be at high altitude where the air density drops exponentially, as air at sea level becomes as thick as molasses (not literally, but you get the picture) as you approach sonic velocity.

China suspends construction
of world’s tallest building

News: construction of China’s 838 metre-high Sky City tower has stalled just days after it began amid safety fears and a lack of necessary government approval.

Chinese media channel Xinhua news has reported that the construction of the world’s tallest building, set for Changsha in central China, is postponed until the project passes relevant safety examinations and gains building permits.

Authorities in the Wancheng District of Changsha are still examining the building’s structure and firefighting facilities, reported Chinese state publication The Global Times, adding that applications for official licenses are still underway.

This news comes only days after a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the site.

As previously reported on Dezeen, construction firm Broad Sustainable Building Technology plans to erect the tower using pre-fabricated components that slot together like a Meccano toy.

When completed the steel skyscraper will be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and include schools, a hospital, office facilities, 17 helipads and apartments for over 30,000 people.

Last year Broad Sustainable Building Technology announced that the tower would be built in just 90 days.

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