Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are VLJ’s the solution for General Aviation?

The recent news about the bankruptcy and subsequent sale of Very Light Jet (VLJ) manufacturer Adam Aircraft (as reported in the Denver Post), brings to mind the difficulties of making any aviation business a success. Why might it be hard to make a general aviation business prosper? Well, maybe we are making and selling the wrong kind of aircraft.

Why should planes go from airport to airport when people really want to go from where they currently are to their real destination? VLJ’s are just faster ways of traveling from one airport to another airport. But, who really wants to be limited in their travel to that? What people would really want if they had the choice is a way to fly directly and quickly from one destination to another.

My earliest inventive work concerned making a aircraft that could take off and land vertically - a VTOL airplane. That form of craft can fly fast and yet is not limited to taking off and landing at airports. This plane combines the vertical capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and aerodynamic qualities of a fixed wing plane. As such, it travels much faster and also more cheaply than helicopters - which are much slower than fixed wing planes - and it requires only small Vertipads for places of origin and destination. You can read more about this airplane, which I call the Arc Wing VTOL here.

And, I’ll talking more about this in other blog posts.

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