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http://news.chinatimes.com/2007Cti/2007Cti-News/2007Cti-News-Content/0,4521,110504+112008073000410,00.html
摺疊飛天摩托車 水陸起降2人行
2008-07-30 中國時報 【王嘉源/綜合報導】
 
     美國加州洛杉磯的「圖標飛機製造公司」(Icon Aircraft)已推出一種雙人座運動用飛機,其造型如飛行艇,可飛到偏遠地區的簡易機場或在水面起降,更好的是,駕駛員不用持有私人飛機駕駛執照。不過它的造價並不便宜,達13萬9000美元(約台幣424萬元)。

     《洛杉磯時報》28日報導,這種專為休閒用途設計的輕型螺旋槳飛機取名為「A5」,外觀如同一部加裝機翼的大型有罩蓋水上摩托車,駕駛艙有兩個並排座位,空間寬敞,感覺更像是一輛跑車。

     A5最慢可飛到時速50英里,最高時速則不得超過193英里,航高也不得超過1萬4650公尺。A5駕駛員只須持有運動用飛機駕照,與取得傳統私人飛機駕照相比,只需一半飛行訓練時數。不過,為了安全考量,美國「聯邦航空管理局」(FAA)規定,運動用飛機駕駛員至少需接受20小時飛行指導,並由FAA考官陪同完成一次試飛。

     A5飛機係由一部100馬力引擎驅動,可加航空燃油或無鉛高級汽油。駕駛艙後面裝有一具紅色螺旋槳。而如果要帶飛機去郊外旅行,機翼可以摺疊,收攏在機尾後,如此一來就可放到露營拖車上載運。

     圖標公司創辦人暨執行長霍金斯(Kirk Hawkins)說,A5打從一開始便是專為「遊樂及易飛」設計。飛機儀表板有3個圓形度量器,分別顯示航速、航高及所謂的「迎角」,乍看下就像是汽車上的時速表、轉速表及油表。

     A5首批量產機要到2010年底才出廠,不過該公司已接獲逾150架飛機訂單,前100架出廠的飛機屬於「限量版」,買主須一架預付10萬美元訂金。


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新超音速客機 倫敦飛紐約僅3小時
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http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/oct/25/today-int7.htm
自由時報2008年10月25日

新超音速客機 倫敦飛紐約僅3小時
造價約25億台幣

〔編譯魏國金/綜合報導〕英法航空公司聯營的協和號客機5年前走入歷史,不過現在美國的Aerion超音速噴射客機將重現協和號的貴氣風采,英國每日郵報報導,Aerion超音速噴射機訂於2015年翱翔天際,屆時從倫敦起飛,3小時後就可望見紐約的自由女神。

最高速度 是現有飛機2倍

報導指出,Aerion超音速噴射客機在優雅度、式樣與機體大小上或許並非與協和號如出一轍,但是它最高速度可達1.6馬赫,是當前客機的兩倍。Aerion集團發言人米勒說,飛行時間約可縮減40%。

他說,Aerion超音速噴射客機可望於2012年試飛,目前已有50個有興趣的團體或私人預付了15萬英鎊(台幣789萬元)的訂金,該客機每架為4750萬英鎊(台幣24億9867萬元)。他指出︰「企業家與政府領袖為了掌握機會,旅行的機會較多,而當他們步下這樣的飛機時,感覺也會比較好。」

2015年重出江湖

他指出,Aerion的飛行成本與現今大型的商務噴射機差不多,而Aerion最勝協和號一籌的是降低噪音的技術,有人說,由於協和號太出名了,忌妒的美國人則以禁止協和號不得以音速飛越美國領土的規定,蓄意封殺協和號。

如今,Aerion在接近音速飛行時,不會產生嚴重的噪音衝擊,而且更優異的是,它在以1.15馬赫的高速飛行時,也不會發出音爆。

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超音速客機 跨大西洋3小時
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http://1-apple.com.tw/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Article&Sec_ID=3&ShowDate=20081025&IssueID=20081025&art_id=31081392&NewsType=1&SubSec=11
超音速客機 跨大西洋3小時
2008年10月25日蘋果日報

美國
【蔡佳慧╱綜合外電報導】自從五年前英航和法航的協和客機因不堪營運壓力而退役後,人類搭乘超音速客機穿梭天際的夢想也畫下句號。不過,超音速空中旅遊即將重起爐灶。美國飛機製造商Aerion宣布,將在2015年推出Aerion超音速噴射機,每架造價約25億元台幣,屆時跨越大西洋只需不到3小時。

預定2012年試飛
Aerion集團表示,這款超音速噴射機雖然不如協和飛機來得高雅大氣,但最高飛行速度可達1.6馬赫(等於音速1126公里╱小時的1.6倍),從紐約飛到倫敦只需要不到3小時,從紐約飛到巴黎也只要4小時15分鐘。該公司發言人米勒說:「這將改變我們進行環球商務的方式,大約可以縮減4成的飛行時數。政經領袖將可更頻繁飛行以追求契機。」
該公司聲稱,目前已經有50位買家表達興趣,現已收到共計約794萬元台幣的訂金,預定將在2012年進行試飛。相較於協和機,這款Aerion超音速噴射機的最大優勢在於減少噪音的能力,可以在接近音速的速度下飛行,而不會造成嚴重噪音;更神奇的是,透過獲得專利的超音速自然層流技術,即使以1.15馬赫速度飛行,也不致於造成音爆。

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瑞士「噴射人」
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瑞士「噴射人」
依維斯‧羅希(Yves Rossy)
http://www.jet-man.com/
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火箭人插翅 飛越英吉利海峽
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http://news.chinatimes.com/2007Cti/2007Cti-News/2007Cti-News-Content/0,4521,110504+112008092700261,00.html
火箭人插翅 飛越英吉利海峽
2008-09-27 中國時報 【江靜玲/倫敦二十六日電】


    有「火箭人」之稱的瑞士冒險家伊夫羅希(Yves Rossy),在延宕了兩天之後,今天成功地藉飛行翼飛越英吉利海峽,以時速一百八十五公里的速度,飛行了三十五點四公里,創下歷史上第一位使用特製動力翼飛越英吉利海峽的人類。

    羅希原訂於本周三進行這項由法國卡萊出發,經過英吉利海峽,飛到英國多佛的挑戰,但因天候關係,一直延期到周五才順利起飛。羅希依例先親自架機進行了上空氣流和能見度檢視,並與英倫技術專家溝通,確定天候可以,便於下午登上輕型飛機。

    時速一八五km 不到十分鐘

    羅希把飛行翼穿戴上身後,在距離法國卡萊省約三千公尺的高空一躍而下,飛行翼張開,他轉向九十度方位,藉著四個噴射渦輪驅動,並以肩膀、頭部和手臂控制方向,一路朝英國多佛飛行。

    羅希以時速一百八十五公里的速度飛行卅五點四公里,並在飛行高度達七百六十二公尺時打開降落傘,漂亮降落在英國多佛。整個飛越過程,不到十分鐘,比原先估計的十三分鐘到十五分鐘要快。

    羅希落地後,愉快地表示,自己感到「好極了」,「真的好極了」。他謝謝所有共同參與挑戰的伙伴,羅希說,他只是負責「飛行」的人,這項挑戰背後其實有許多人的參與與貢獻。

    跳出機艙 夢想終達成

    羅希說,他在飛行中,可以看到藍色的天空,地面視野和能見度都完美無比,他的內心也比昨天平靜一些。

    本周四,羅希在最後一刻決定不進行飛行挑戰時,曾表示,「這是來自我內心的直覺。」「我只有一個生命,我不想浪費它。」羅希強調,他不是喜歡冒險,而是可以並知道如何控制危險。

    現年四十九歲的羅希曾擔任空軍飛行員,駕駛幻象三式超音速戰鬥機十五年。自軍中退後後,轉任瑞士航空機長,往來世界各地。

    但是,駕駛客機無法滿足羅希的夢想。他真正想做的是,直接跳出機艙外面,像鳥兒般在空中飛翔。他嘗試自由花式跳傘、空中衝浪等各式高空運動,但最終還是想要「插翅而飛」。

    特製飛翼 獲兩國協助

    十五年前,他開始試圖落實夢想,每年以兩萬五千英鎊(約一百五十萬台幣)在自已的車庫裡,打造一架又一架的背揹式推進飛行翼原型。直到德國JetCat和瑞士ACT複合體公司同意協助,羅希才完成現在使用的噴射推進飛行翼。

    與羅希合作的一名工程師坦承,初聞羅希的想法時,「我以為這個人一定是個瘋子,不然,就是精神有問題。」可是,看了羅希的設計圖後,「我知道,他是認真的。」

    羅希廿六日飛越英吉利海峽的路線,與九十九年前,第一位駕駛飛機飛越該海峽的法國飛航先驅布萊里奧相同。羅希成功飛越英吉利海峽後表示,此舉證明,人類可以學習如何像鳥一樣飛翔。他相信,未來人們可以把類似的活動,當成一種新的體育活動。

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火箭人羅希 飛越英吉利海峽
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http://udn.com/NEWS/WORLD/WOR4/4535398.shtml
火箭人羅希 飛越英吉利海峽

【聯合報╱編譯陳世欽/法新社英國多佛26日電】 2008.09.27 03:15 am


瑞士火箭人羅希26日利用固定在背上的翼狀噴射背包,順利自法國飛越英吉利海峽抵達英國南部多佛港,創下率先以這種器材飛越英吉利海峽的世界紀錄。

49歲的羅希飛越英吉利海峽,順利完成全程35公里的飛行航程後表示:「我已經證明,人類絕對可以如鳥禽般翱翔天際。實現這個夢想是我的目標。你懷有願景,並以實際行動實現。這是最令人滿足的境界。」他談到完成這項壯舉的感想時說:「兼具狂喜與試著集中精神,因為我一直在想,底下的海水真冷。」

羅希的飛行翼以碳纖維打造;他首先搭乘一架小飛機升空,在法國海岸的2500公尺高空一躍而下後,以每小時200多公里的速度高速飛行。在如畫的藍天襯托下,他大約10分鐘後將引擎熄火,在英國海岸空中約1500公尺處打開綠藍兩色的降落傘,最後安然落地。羅希在旁人協助下卸下飛翼時,顯得非常激動。曾任瑞士國際航空機長的羅希表示:「感覺非常棒。我現在的心情比飛行前平靜許多。全部的狀況非常完美。」

羅希此前試飛時間從未超過10分鐘,26日的飛行過程必須精準調整裝備與重量,以免影響飛行能力。2架輕型機與2架直升機全程陪同並攝影。

儘管看似一切完美,羅希實際上為了開同伴一個小玩笑而並未降落在預定的位置。小飛機駕駛員柯隆表示:「他並未降落在預定的位置,因為他臨時決定開我一個小玩笑。他啟動推進引擎把我震開,使我無法緊隨。他降落時施展一次完美的螺旋,使小飛機無法跟上。」羅希原訂24日嘗試這項壯舉,因為天候不佳而二度取消。

【2008/09/27 聯合報】

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瑞士「火箭人」以飛行翼成功飛越英吉利海峽
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http://n.yam.com/afp/international/200809/20080927223333.html
瑞士「火箭人」以飛行翼成功飛越英吉利海峽  
法新社╱蔣天清 2008-09-27 00:20     

 
(法新社多佛二十六日電)瑞士冒險家羅希今天只靠一副噴射引擎飛行翼,就成功從法國飛越英吉利海峽,完成歷史壯舉。

這位四十九歲的飛行員在完成這三十五公里旅程、飛越全球最為繁忙的海運航道之一後,降落在田野上,接近多佛海峽白色峭壁上的一座燈塔。

他降落以後,大批記者立即蜂擁而上。他得意笑說:「真是太棒了,我覺得現在的心情比起飛前要來得沉穩,一切真是天時地利人和。」

羅希是先搭一架小飛機,從法國海岸上空兩千五百公尺高處一躍而下,再啟動綑綁在背上的碳材料製飛行翼,以每小時兩百多公里的速度飛行。

徜徉在晴朗無雲的藍天中,羅希翱翔十分鐘左右就關掉引擎,結束飛行,在英國海岸上方約一千五百公尺的高空打開藍綠相間的降落傘。

這位瑞士冒險家是瑞士國際航空公司的機師,他在別人幫他脫掉飛行翼時,興奮之情溢於言表。

他蹣跚地穿越犁過的田野,並對記者說,「我要感謝所有幫助我的人,我是唯一用此方式飛過這個海峽的人,但是有非常多人助我一臂之力。」

羅希先前的飛行時間從來沒有超過十分鐘,他在飛行前也得將設備和體重調整到最佳配合狀態,因為即使只增加幾百公克重量,也會影響他的飛行能力。

羅希這趟行程已由陪伴他飛行的兩架飛機和兩架直昇機加以拍攝直播。

羅希自詡為「火箭人」,飛行日期原訂於二十四日,後因天候不佳,兩度延期。

羅希二零零四年成為使用噴射引擎飛行翼飛行的第一人。


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080926/ts_afp/franceswitzerlandbritainaviationoffbeat_080926135353
Jet-powered Swiss adventurer crosses English Channel

by Guy Jackson
Fri Sep 26, 9:53 AM ET

DOVER, England (AFP) - Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy made history Friday by flying across the English Channel from France using only a jet-powered wing.

The 49-year-old pilot touched down in a field near a lighthouse on the white cliffs of Dover after completing the 35-kilometre (22-mile) journey over one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

"It was great. I feel a lot more calm now than before the flight. It was perfect conditions," he said with a big grin, after being mobbed by journalists shortly after his arrival.

With the carbon wing strapped to his back, Rossy had leapt out of a small plane at an altitude of 2,500 metres over the French coast before jetting off at speeds of more than 200 kilometres per hour.

Against a backdrop of picture-perfect blue skies, he ended his adventure around ten minutes later by cutting his engines and deploying a green and blue parachute at an altitude of some 1,500 metres over the English coast.

The Swiss daredevil -- a pilot with Swiss International Air Lines -- was visibly ecstatic as he was helped out of the wing structure into which he had been strapped for the flight.

"I would like to say thank you to all the people who helped me. I am the only one who has flown across the channel this way, but so many people helped me do it," he told journalists, staggering across the ploughed field.

Stephane Marmier, a skydiver and part of the support team, told AFP the flight had gone without a hitch.

"He's experienced a little bit of air turbulence, but otherwise it was the perfect flight. He's here in England, and that's what counts. We are delighted," he said.

Rossy had never flown for longer than ten minutes and had to calibrate his equipment and weight to perfection since even the addition of a few hundred grammes would have affected his flying ability.

His trip was broadcast live by two aircraft and two helicopters which flew alongside him across the channel.

Rossy, who calls himself FusionMan, was originally scheduled to make the flight Wednesday, but postponed it twice due to bad weather.

In 2004, he became the first man to fly with jet-powered wings.

He was aiming to trace the route of French inventor Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the English Channel in a plane 99 years ago, taking 37 minutes for the trip.

Speaking after his flight, he added: "I hope that many people will have the opportunity to fly like this. I am full of hope that there will be many in the future."

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From The Sunday TimesSeptember 21, 2008
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/men/article4787803.ece
From The Sunday TimesSeptember 21, 2008

Flying across the Channel by jetpack

Yves Rossy aims to make history this week by crossing the Channel strapped to a jet-powered wing and we can all watch the attempt live

Kathryn Liptrott
On a normal day Yves Rossy can be found flying Airbus 320s between Zurich and Heathrow for Swiss International Air Lines. However, when the 49-year-old pilot takes to the skies later this week, he will have nothing but an 8ft-long carbon fibre wing to carry him, powered by four small jet turbines of the sort more usually found on model aircraft.

His self-designed, jet-propelled wing has already earned him the nickname Rocket Man, and now Rossy plans to become the first person to cross the English Channel as a human jet. Launching himself through the air at speeds of up to 185mph, he will follow the same route taken by Louis Blériot, the French aviation pioneer who became the first person to fly an aeroplane across the Channel, 99 years ago.

Weather permitting, on Wednesday lunchtime Rossy will board a light aircraft that will climb to about 10,000ft above Calais. He will fire up the four jet turbines under the wing, which is strapped to his back, then jump out, hurtling down to earth at about 185mph before levelling out at about 5,000ft and flying at about 115mph for the 22 miles to Dover. If he succeeds he is guaranteed a place in the record books. If he fails he could find himself dodging container ships in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world - or worse.

I will be watching from the ground, as part of the production team making it possible for Rossy’s record attempt to be broadcast live in 165 countries and streamed simultaneously to the web. This will also be another first, involving numerous long-lens cameras on both sides of the Channel, another strapped to the nose of a helicopter, to track Rossy in flight, and another secured to his wing, which will beam back the action as it unfolds to TVs and computer screens around the world.

When my production company told me about a man who had strapped a rocket to his back and could “fly like a bird”, my first reaction was that it was a joke and my second was that we had to film him. A few weeks later I was standing on the side of a mountain near Rossy’s home in Switzerland, and that’s where I watched him for the first time.

You hear the roar of the jets first, then you see him. He looks like a real-life Buzz Lightyear, the flying space-man character from the film Toy Story, who would zoom skywards with a cry of “To infinity and beyond”. Rossy’s contraption is so unusual he was classified as an unidentified flying object by the Swiss authorities, until he managed to persuade them to give him a special licence.

The son of a railway worker and a farmer’s daughter, Rossy’s passion for flying began when he was 13 years old and his parents took him to an air show. When one of the planes swooped down low, the pilot looked right at Rossy. “I looked at this pilot,” he recalls, “and I thought, ‘What kind of emotion does this man feel?’.”

To find out, he joined the Swiss air force when he was 17 and flew Mirage fighter jets. He also studied engineering, and later made the switch to flying commercial airlines. He is an accomplished parachutist and it was while parachuting that the idea for the jet wing first emerged. What drives him is the desire to get as close as possible to flying like a bird.

The concept of strapping a rocket to your back is nothing new - James Bond used one way back in 1965 in the film Thunderball – but so-called “jet packs” only allow you to stay off the ground for a few seconds, argues Rossy, and are extremely unstable. “It’s not flying,” he says.

Rossy first began pursuing his goal about 15 years ago, building prototype after prototype in his garage and spending as much as £25,000 a year of his own money to fund his experiment (he has since won sponsorship from Hublot, the Swiss watchmaker). He started with an inflatable wing but was only able to glide - not much different from dangling from a hang-glider.

Then, with help from JetCat, a German company that makes engines for model planes, he was able to get hold of the jet turbines to power it, and the Swiss firm ACT Composites agreed to manufacture the wing.

If all goes according to plan, Rossy’s Channel crossing will take place in three days’ time, although he has another four days after that before he has to return to work, and the production team will be ready to leap into action as soon as he gives the go-ahead.

He will take off from Calais at around 1pm and fly in as straight a line as possible to Dover, before releasing his parachute at about 2,500ft in order to land. In future he hopes to be able to achieve sufficient vertical thrust to set off from the ground, but at the moment that would require more fuel than he can feasibly carry so he can only fly horizontally.

All the people in the plane with Rossy, including the cameraman, must be qualified parachutists so they can jump if the aircraft catches fire. Rossy wears a fireproof suit and three parachutes - a braking chute, a main chute and a reserve chute – plus another one just for the wing, to ensure it falls gently back to earth if he has to jettison it.

Once out of the plane he pulls a cord to expand the wing to its full length (it’s too long to extend inside) then has to steer it using his shoulders, head and arms - a physically exhausting task as the wing weighs 121lb when full of fuel. His helmet contains a sonic altimeter, which beeps at certain heights. The loudest beep is at 1,800ft - if he hasn’t opened his parachute by that point he’s in danger.

A few weeks ago Rossy completed his longest flight, covering a distance of about 22 miles and taking about 12 minutes - enough to get him across the Channel, given the right conditions. For the record attempt to be successful he will need a cloud ceiling of no lower than 10,000ft and preferably no rain.

Most important, though, is the wind. Rossy is determined to follow the route taken by Blériot from Calais to Dover, even though it’s harder to cross from the French to the British side, as the wind is usually against you. There is also the possibility that if the head-wind is too strong he will have to abandon the crossing or risk running out of fuel halfway through.

The production team has had its own complex - though less life-threatening - obstacles to overcome. You could compare it to filming natural history: it requires as many cameras as possible, long lenses and steady hands. Rossy used to have two tanks on his wing for producing smoke, just to make it easier for people - including cameramen - to see him, but those have now been replaced by jet turbines to increase his flying range.

The logistics of getting all the cameras in the right place at the right time is hard enough, but then there are the inevitable bureaucratic hoops to jump through too: we required, for example, special permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly in formation and at one point a member of the team was told the CAA needed to know if he had a life raft onboard - presumably for health and safety reasons, but that may have been someone’s idea of a joke.

After so much careful preparation, it is always the seemingly minor, unexpected things that cause last -minute complications. I am still waiting for risk assessments to be completed on the landing site in Dover and need t o speak to the British authorities to see if there are any forms they want Rossy to fill in when he enters the country - it’s not as if he can give them his BA flight number. None of this is going to distract him, however.

I asked him once if he was frightened by his adventure. His response? “No. Never. If I’m scared I don’t fly.

“There is a certain tension that helps me to concentrate. I have a check-list of what has gone wrong in the past and I make sure that all those issues have been resolved.”

Rossy is a daredevil, but he’s a calculated one. He doesn’t have a death wish. He wants to fly and he wants to keep pushing it to the next level. “[When I’m flying] it is a combination of concentration and pure happiness,” he says. “I am in another state of mind; it is a little unreal. It is hyper-euphoria and it gives me a huge feeling of freedom.”

When he lands during practice, and he’s done well, the look of joy on his face is incredible. It becomes infectious. That said, though, I definitely wouldn’t do it.

Kathryn Liptrott is a television producer who has spent four months filming Rossy’s preparations for his record attempt You can follow Rossy’s record attempt live at www.natgeotv.com/jetman or on the National Geographic channel.

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挑戰史上第一 火箭人要飛英倫海峽
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http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/sep/24/today-int4.htm
自由時報2008年9月24日

挑戰史上第一 火箭人要飛英倫海峽
〔編譯魏國金/綜合報導〕有「火箭人」之稱的瑞士冒險家羅希(見圖,美聯社)原本預定二十四日挑戰以二.四公尺長的碳纖飛行翼,在四個小型的噴射渦輪機驅動下飛越英倫海峽,成為人體噴射飛越英倫海峽的第一人。不過由於天候不許可,這項任務將延期一天。

碳纖飛行翼 由4個噴射渦輪驅動

四十九歲的羅希原本定於二十四日下午左右登上一架輕型飛機,在距離法國加萊省約三千公尺的高空躍下,張開飛行翼後,靠著肩膀、頭部與手臂控制方向,這是極耗體力的任務,因為飛行翼加滿燃料時重約五十五公斤。

踏出飛機的羅希在飛行高度達一五二四公尺之前,是以時速近三百公里的高速下墜,之後以時速一百八十五公里的速度飛行三十五.四公里,並在飛行高度七百六十二公尺時打開降落傘,降落英國多佛。整個飛行路線與九十九年前、第一位駕機飛越英倫海峽的法國飛航先驅布萊里奧所採用者相同。

天候不佳 延至明天再冒險

羅希的頭盔配備有聲波測高計,每到達特定的飛行高度就會有提示聲,在飛行高度達五百四十九公尺時,提示聲最大,因為如果降落傘再不開,羅希將有生命危險。

熱愛跳傘的羅希是在一次跳傘中,突發背著噴射推進器飛行的奇想,因為這是讓他能夠以最接近飛鳥的方式翱翔天際。十五年前他開始試圖落實夢想,他一年花費兩萬五千英鎊(台幣約一百五十萬元)在自家車庫打造一架又一架的飛行翼原型,直至德國JetCat公司與瑞士ACT複合體公司的協助,才完成現在的噴射推進飛行翼。

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The Jetpack: From Comics to a Liftoff in the Yard
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/science/29jetpack.html?_r=1&ref=science&oref=slogin
The Jetpack: From Comics to a Liftoff in the Yard

OSHKOSH, Wis. — To rise off the ground wearing a jetpack is to feel the force of dreams. Very, very noisy dreams.

On Tuesday, an inventor from New Zealand unveiled what he calls “the world’s first practical jetpack” at the EAA AirVenture, the gigantic annual air show here. The inventor, Glenn Martin, 48, who has spent 27 years developing the devices, said he hoped to begin selling them next year for $100,000 apiece.

“There is nothing that even comes close to the dream that the jetpack allows you to achieve,” said Robert J. Thompson, the director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. He called it “about the coolest desire left to mankind.”

For Mr. Martin, the jetpack is the culmination of a dream that began as a 5-year-old in Dunedin, New Zealand. For those who still remember childhood dreams of flying and comic-book visions of the 21st century, the jetpack suggests the possible fulfillment of the yearning for those long-promised gifts of technology.

Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute. Mr. Martin’s machines can run for 30 minutes.

At first sight, parked in the back of the U-Haul van Mr. Martin used to cart it to the air show, it did not look like the classic jetpacks of science fiction. It stands about five feet tall and its rotors are encased in two large ducts that look a bit like cupcakes. It rests on three legs. Mr. Martin has somehow made the future look both sleek and nerdy.

“If someone says, ‘I’m not going to buy a jetpack until it’s the size of my high school backpack and has a turbine engine in it,’ that’s fine,” he said. “ But they’re not going to be flying a jetpack in their lifetime.”

It is also not, to put it bluntly, a jet. “If you’re very pedantic,” Mr. Martin acknowledged, a gasoline-powered piston engine runs the large rotors. Jet Skis, he pointed out, are not jets, and the atmospheric jet stream is not created by engines. “This thing flies on a jet of air,” he said. Or, more simply, it flies.

On a couple of test runs in the yard of a home here belonging to a friend of Mr. Martin, the jetpack jumped off the ground as if impatient to get moving, scattering a cloud of dirt and grass clippings.

With the startling power of its twin rotors and its 200-horsepower engine behind my shoulder blades screaming like an army of leaf blowers, it felt almost as if I were doing the lifting myself, with muscles I did not know I had. It felt like living in the future — and, even better, the future we imagined back when it was something to be hoped for rather than feared.

Pressing the left-hand stick forward caused the device to pitch forward slightly, and the jetpack began advancing, a few feet above the lawn. Mr. Martin and a colleague steadied it by grasping hand rails and trotting alongside, like parents teaching a child to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

Then, coming around a curve, Mr. Martin jogged to the right to avoid some equipment on the ground, bringing the jetpack too close to an overhanging tree. The limb was sucked into the rotors with a brief but sickening sound, like a blender trying to make a margarita with twigs. Luckily, he had spare parts and access to a workshop to replace a chipped rotor.

Mr. Martin started trying to make his jetpack dreams come true in college. While he was studying biochemistry, he was also working on painstaking calculations of thrust in the library and researching the Wright brothers’ methodical approach to technology development. He later had jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, but much of the money went to the work going on in his garage. He built a network of enthusiasts who helped him develop his ideas.

In June 1997, seven weeks after the birth of his second child, Mr. Martin figured his prototype was now powerful enough to lift its first flier, so long as that person weighed less than 130 pounds. So he turned to his wife. “I said, ‘Hey, Vanessa, what are you doing tonight?’ ”

Mrs. Martin agreed to be her husband’s levitating guinea pig. Mr. Martin yoked the unit to a pole in the garage so it would lift her without moving around, put a kind of brake at the top of the pole in case the engine was stronger than he thought, and strapped her in.

She admits now that, deep down, she was not sure she would take off. At the same time, she was “very scared” of the device she calls “the beast.”

The engine fired up, sounding angry, she said, and the air started blasting around her. “There’s a moment when it will just bite,” she said, and seem to grab the air and go. “That was it,” she said. “I was totally addicted.”

She said she felt, in a way, that she had conquered it — “the taming of it, that’s so exciting.” It was, she said, “probably the best experience of my life.”

To prove that anyone could learn to use a later prototype, Mr. Martin also enlisted his son Harrison, then 15, as a test pilot. Too young to drive, he learned to fly. The family’s need for secrecy until the project could be patented and properly announced meant that Harrison could not tell his friends about it.

“I can’t think of a better secret,” he said, but added that it was not a hard one to keep. “Basically, for my whole life I’ve had a jetpack in the garage,” said Harrison, now 16, with a shrug, “so it’s just one of those things you don’t talk about.”

With a working engine and video in hand, Mr. Martin was able to start raising enough money to quit his day job and devote himself to jetpack development full time. Before long he had venture capital financing and a PowerPoint presentation.

The current iteration of the product, the 11th, weighs about 250 pounds and provides 600 pounds of thrust. It includes safety features like a so-called ballistic parachute with a small explosive charge for rapid deployment in case of an emergency, like those used in some small airplanes.

The pedestal that forms the main support for the device has a shock absorber like a pogo stick to soften landings. The weight of the engines and body of the flier sits lower than the rotors to create a pendulum effect that discourages the contraption from tipping upside down and creating what might be called the lawn dart effect.

“People come up and go, ‘Is it safe?’ ” Mr. Martin said. “Safety is a relative thing. We think we have done a lot to make this by far the safest jetpack ever built.” But, he acknowledged, “It’s not a high bar.”

He added, “I’ve got to get my head around the fact that at some point, somebody is going to have a very bad experience.”

So far, he said, he and his team of developers have not taken the device higher than six feet. “We set that very deliberately,” he said, to ensure that they fully understand controlling the invention before taking it to more dangerous altitudes. “If you can fly it at 3 feet, you can fly it at 3,000,” he said.

Only 12 people have flown the jetpack, and no one has gained more than three hours of experience in the air. Mr. Martin plans to take it up to 500 feet within six months. This time, he said with a smile, he will be the first.

Mr. Martin said he had no idea how his invention might ultimately be used, but he is not a man of small hopes. He repeated the story of Benjamin Franklin, on first seeing a hot-air balloon, being asked, “What good is it?” He answered, “What good is a newborn baby?”

At the demonstration on Tuesday, a large crowd formed and watched as Harrison took the device a few feet off the ground, barely visible over the heads of the spectators.

"That's a little anticlimactic," said Bob Oliver, a retired airline pilot from Alamo, Calif. But Joseph Tevaarwerk, who helped develop the craft's engine, noted that the world's first airplane flight was only about 12 seconds long. And he added "would you have wanted to be there when the Wright brothers launched?"

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個人飛行器 可望明年上市
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http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/jul/30/today-int9.htm
自由時報2008年7月30日

個人飛行器 可望明年上市

從1920年代首次出現在科幻漫畫以來,個人飛行器一直是令人類著迷的飛行夢想之一,紐西蘭48歲發明家馬丁29日將在威斯康辛州美國實驗飛機協會航空展上推出一款宣稱是「全世界第一款實用性個人飛行器」,希望明年上市,每具售價10萬美元(約304萬元台幣)。

每具售價約304萬元台幣

從1960年代起陸續有人提出以金屬、塑膠加上推進器製成的個人飛行器設計,但是都無法飛超過1分鐘;而馬丁推出的這款能飛上30分鐘。

這款飛行器高約1.5公尺,重112.5公斤,停駐時靠3根支架支撐,旋轉翼安裝在2個外形看起來像杯子的圓柱槽中,靠200匹馬力的汽油活塞引擎驅動旋翼產生600磅推進力,使用時像雙肩背包一樣背在操作者背後,透過搖桿控制起降和方向。

紐約時報記者親身體驗後說,覺得真的像在未來世界,但是運作時噪音非常大。

這是馬丁花了27年時間實現5歲以來的夢想。主修生物化學的馬丁,大學開始著手研究個人飛行器,畢業後在製藥生物科技界工作,將工作以外時間和賺來的錢都投注在自家車庫中打造的飛行器上。

1997年研發出原型機,找太太當白老鼠,實驗成功。第2代機找了當時15歲、還不能開車的兒子測試,只為了證明任何人都能學會操作這種飛行器。現在看到的是第11代機。

飛行器的安全裝置包括類似小型飛機上使用的緊急降落傘系統,3個支架有吸震裝置可減緩降落衝擊力,引擎重量和飛行器主體位置低於旋轉翼,以避免重心不穩「倒頭栽」。

馬丁說,為了安全起見,在充分掌握這款飛行器性能前,還沒讓這款飛行器飛超過1.5公尺高,到目前為止親身操作過的12個人飛的時間也都不超過3小時。馬丁希望6個月內能將飛行高度增加到155公尺,屆時他要率先體驗。(取自紐約時報)

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