[extropy-chat] Fw: Hydrogen cars

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Sat Mar 11 04:05:53 UTC 2006

Kara Devar writes:
>I love the "helicopter" idea, but it's a lot harder than it looks.  I have 
>30+ hours on helicopters and although I did well, I regretfully decided I'd 
>better stop until I could at least afford to fly one with a huge amount of 
>horsepower ($1,000,000 purchase--before maintenance and insurance.  Don't 
>even think about long-term rental.)  I was training in a Robinson R22--$250 
>per hour and one step above a lawn chair and a propeller-beanie.  My 
>instructor and one of his other students were both body-builders.  We're at 
>sea level, but they'd go out, sit on the roof, fire up the rotor, and walk 
>back disgusted because there just wasn't enough air that day.  100 lbs 
>under the designated weight, but still not safe to fly.

That's a great story, Kara.  Congrats on delurking.

For those for whom the R22 is "too much helicopter" there are a couple of
even smaller, experimental "personal helicopters" that I know of.  Here is
one from Japan, the Gen H-4: <http://www.gen-corp.jp/GENH-4_en/index.htm>.
However I don't know if they are still in business, it says it "will
be" available in 2000.  It could just be that the English language page
hasn't been updated.  One problem is that 150 pound pilot weight.  That
won't get far with Americans.

Those on the heftier side will like the AirScooter II,
<http://www.airscooter.com/pages/airscooter_main.htm>.  Like the Gen H-4
it has a coaxial blade, so no tail rotor is needed.  However useful load
is 350 pounds.  It uses a much larger, four stroke engine so should be
quieter; on the other hand the Gen H-4 has four small engines and can
fly with only three of them.  The AirScooter has gotten quite a bit of
press this past year, I've seen a few articles on it.

Both craft claim about 55 mph speeds, and the AirScooter claims a two
hour endurance so you could go about 100 miles.  It's not necessarily
faster than a car but at least you could go in a straight line and maybe
save time that way.

Both would be considered experimental aircraft in the U.S. which would
mean they could not be flown over "congested areas", meaning basically
any urban or suburban region.  Maybe if you stayed 40 feet in the air
and just followed the freeways you could make a case for it being OK
(unless the freeway was "congested" I guess!).

The bottom line is that these are not really practical transportation
systems, they are just for fun.  The AirScooter is supposed to come out
this year and sell for less than $50,000.  The H-4 was going to be a
little cheaper but I don't know what ever happened with it.


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