Thursday, 07 February, 2002

Millennium Jet's Solotrek

CNN is running a story about the SoloTrek personal transportation device by Millennium Jet.  Although still in the development stages, the technology shows some real promise.  It uses an internal combustion engine and ducted fans for lift, and computer controls to keep the thing balanced while in the air.  Right now it only works about two feet off the ground, but they're aiming for 8,000 ft. and 80 MPH for 120 nautical miles.  The primary market is military (Special Forces), and then police, fire, and Search and Rescue.  "Ultimately," says the article, "it may one day reach the civilian market."

It's that last line that scares me.  Can you imagine thousands of thrill-seekers jetting around with 325-pound vehicles attached to their backs?  Even with computer-controlled balance and recovery systems (i.e. parachute), it's a disaster waiting to happen.  I hope these things remain expensive and difficult to operate.  Otherwise I'm staying indoors and out of the flight path.  Sure, I would like one, but I wouldn't trust your average Austin driver with one.