Feeds

US military offered flying hover car bike

Ducted-fan skyhog would be just 23 feet long

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A noted US air'n'space crazytechware firm, engaged in building a comparatively humdrum hover killbot, has strongly suggested that their machine could in fact function as the long-yearned-for flying car - or flying bike anyway.

The 'Excalibur' sky-bike prototype from Aurora Flight Sciences

The proposed aerial steed. Pic: AFS

Aurora Flight Sciences of Virginia is already well known for its efforts on crewless stratocruiser planes, both hydrogen fuelled and - more radically - of sun-harvesting "Z-Wing" tiltship configuration. The company has also been working for a while on its "Excalibur" ducted-fan vertical takeoff aircraft.

The Excalibur is offered as a fairly normal high-autonomy aerial weapons platform (that is, normal among late-generation killer robots). Its prime mover, like most high-performance aircraft, is a turbine. The special sauce which makes it stand out among ducted-fan craft is that the fans themselves are driven electrically using turbine-generated juice rather than a mechanical gearbox, so saving on weight and allowing the main drive to be optimised for propelling the hover-plane in forward flight using lift from its wings.

Aurora has so far seen the Excalibur functioning in normal times as an attack craft, packing such traditional killbot favourites as the Hellfire missile and Viper Strike pocket-size smart glider bombs. Excalibur could face tough competition in this role from helicopters both manned and unmanned which can probably outperform it in the hover, and from winged aircraft which can probably match or exceed its cruise and loiter performance.

Now, however, the company seems keen to suggest that the innovative winged hovership could carry out other missions, making the most of its small footprint and vertical landing abilities. In particular, company reps have told the military press that they reckon Excalibur could carry a single human passenger - perhaps a special-forces operator. Given the craft's high level of autonomy (it requires no remote piloting, even for landing and takeoff) this passenger wouldn't need to be a qualified pilot.

The military need for such an aircraft could be marginal. But the Excalibur, as now described, would actually have many of the attributes of a flying car: Vertical takeoff, range, largely hands-off autopiloting. If it were quiet enough, it could be a Jetsons-style aerial ride - though apparently single-seat only.

There are still a few quibbles, though. Apparently the full-size, man-lifter Excalibur would be 21 feet wide and 23 feet long: Rather large for a flying bike.

For now, Aurora hopes to build a smaller trial job (pictured) to fly by the end of the year. If that goes well, they'll try to sell the larger full size sky-hog effort to the Army. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.