What licensing & regulations apply to this personal aircraft?

Yeah, I saw one that looked like a regular small airplane, totally enclosed cabin for the pilot, windows etc.

No, I get that. I have a boat I waterski with, but I can also fish all day with it, park it in the middle of a lake and cook and have a beer with friends, or use it to visit other people on the lake. None of my boating activities are limited to 20 minutes.

All I’m saying is that $92,000 is a steep price for something that needs to recharge for 1 or 2 hours every 20 minutes. (I was also a little amused to see that the load weight was 210 lbs. because that’s the same max weight I saw for a cheap electric scooter the other day. At the time I thought to myself that was going to rule out a lot of people.)

I also wonder how much flight time changes with passenger weight. If you weigh 210 do you still have 20 minutes of flight time? Or do you have to cut it back to have a safety factor to return to wherever you charge.

Finally, I wonder if they paid Hanna-Barbara to use the name Jetson for a flying car?

The Jetson is the waterskis, not the boat.

My water skis are useable for as long as I want to use them, not twenty minutes every two hours. Waterskiing is generally a hours long activity with several people involved.

Again, I don’t care if people want to buy a Jetson. I just think the fun time/sitting around time ratio would make it fairly boring after the novelty wore off. You are a pilot, I assume you feel differently. Nothing wrong with either opinion.

At that, just a decade or two ago you wouldn’t have gotten even that much out of an electric aircraft - assuming you could get it off the ground at all.

There was also a jet-powered ultralight someone brought to Oshkosh one year - 7 minute flight time on that one. Although the refueling was faster. But the guy made that mostly to prove it could be done than as something intended to be made and sold to others.

I’ve seen an ultralight with a maximum weight limit of 140 pounds. Not the most popular model for obvious reasons.

Presumably it’s 20 minutes at the stated max load but that’s always something dangerous to rely on too much with aircraft. The endurance will vary a bit with load. It will also vary with speed - if you run it flat out you’re going to run down the batteries. If you run it at an optimal speed it may last longer.

I used to fly electric radio control aircraft. By figuring out the maximum endurance speed I could make what usually lasted only about 7 minutes last for 12 - but that was a fixed wing, this Jetson thing is a rotorcraft and I’m not at all sure how to figure it out that trick with a rotorcraft. Or even if that’s an option.

For darn sure you don’t want to run this thing down entirely because I have significant doubts about how well it glides (probably not at all) or autorotates. Sure, there’s a parachute, but we’ve already covered one of the issues in using one of those. The other issue is that a recovery chute is intended to save the occupants - a frequent outcome is an unsalvageable airframe. Not always, but you shouldn’t count on your aircraft surviving that sort of landing.

For a limited range of conditions this thing probably can be flown safely - but it can be bought by just anyone, no training or self-discipline required. That, as much as anything else, is what makes this dangerous.

Yes, that would seem to limit the customer base pretty severely.

That occurred to me too. I have a feeling it glides a little like a brick.

Seriously, I think it would be fun to learn to fly one. It’s really only the flight time limit that is a big drawback to me. Well, that and crash safety at 65mph, even if you are only two feet above the ground. Seems like it would be like a motorcycle crash except with a bunch of spinning blades to add to the mayhem.

The Jetson doesn’t glide at all. Ever see a quadcopter fall out of the sky? If the fans quit, the thing is simply a projectile.

I’m sure it will have all kinds of computer nannies that calculate things like range left and will force you to land before the battery dies, or prevent you from climbing high enough that you can’t get down before the battery quits. Coupled with GPS it might even prevent you ftom flying too far over water or other harsh terrain in case you can’t make it back to a safe landing area. Small quadcopters already do this kind of stuff.

That will lower the utility of the thing even more. And if has a 20 minute endurance, you’d be an idiot to fly it anywhere near that limit. You’ll want to be on the ground with at peast 5 minutes of power left, unless you are suicidal.

Kind of reminds me of the Segway. Fun, but ultimately useless except in some specific applications.

But hey. Baby steps.

I took a Segway tour of Salzburg. A Segway was an excellent vehicle for a mainly pedestrian inner city (town?) which could go fairly fast or no faster than a pedestrian, easy to maneuver, etc. I could see it having very limited applications in a typical suburban setting or where distance is an issue or a load needs to be carried. A scooter is more serviceable. (I should note an interesting phenomenon - after standing on the Segway for an extended period not moving my feet, they started to hurt. Try standing in one spot without shifting or moving your feet for 10 minutes or more.)

Similarly with this thing. May be great as a minor utility in a very limited situation, But the risk and limited range are hardly worth it. Would you trust this thing, for example, to hop back and forth from your cottage on a private island to the mainland? Misjudge the charge and it becomes a $92,000 anchor.

I have seen illustrations of similar concepts - usually fuel-powered, where the design has 6 rotors to minimize the risk of single rotor failure. (and presumably, at least 2 engines to allow for “controlled descent into terrain”)

For a fun read, look up the teething troubles of the Osprey aircraft.

For fixed-wing aircraft, ground effect is insignificant when more than one wingspan above the ground (or water), and becomes important at about half a wingspan or less. So useful ground effect for this vehicle would probably require being no higher than about 1.5’.

Both are probably negligible. Helicopter autorotation requires meaningful rotor mass, which appears lacking here.

I hear you there. Standing in line for long periods is an absolute killer for me. But it’s my back, not my feet.

I have a DJI drone, the default setting is to automatically RTB when it gets to 30% of battery charge left. One can change that setting, but I also have spare batteries that are small enough to fit in my pocket & can be swapped out in single-digit number of seconds.
I wonder what this weighs, if there will be an option for spare batteries, & how easily swapable they might be? Otherwise, one would want to made sure they land it close to the garage/shed where this is kept, or at least close to an extension cord so one can begin the recharge process. Flying 15 mins out in one direction won’t work unless you can truck/boat it back.

It looks like there might be some deflective material between the front props & the occupant but I don’t see that on the rear ones. Props can fail…catastrophically, which is why fans have cage guards on them. I could see someone trying to play amongst the trees (retrieving Charlie Brown’s kite?) to bad result.

Also, as someone who regularly flies low, we’re always taught not to look for wires, which might not be visible, but to look for the poles & to fly over the height of the poles as sometimes wires sag & sometimes they’re taught. I wonder what type of training in obstacle avoidance (if any) these rich guys get that fixed wing pilots probably don’t even need to think about.

The point is… under Part 103 no training whatsoever is required.

The “rich guys” can get all the training they want/can afford… if they make the effort to get said training.

And, as someone who was introduced to flying via Part 103, thus “low and slow” from the start, those of us who made the effort to get training were taught the exact same thing about poles, sagging wires, and flying over them.