Oct. 19, 2000
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
Phone: 650/ 604-9000
NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: You are invited to cover a media day highlighting wind tunnel tests of the propulsion system of a one-person air scooter on Monday, Oct. 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101, drive east to the main Ames gate, and report to the pass and identification office for maps and directions to Bldg. N215, 7-by 10-foot wind tunnel #1. Related video footage is slated for satellite distribution and handout on betacam videotape; please see further information at the end of this notice. U.S. media representatives must have valid picture ID in order to enter Ames. Foreign media representatives will require escort (advance notification recommended). Reporters will also be given a map with directions to Millennium Jet, Inc, Sunnyvale, so they can view the air scooter vehicle and interview Millennium Jet engineers (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
AMES MEDIA DAY FEATURES AIR SCOOTER WIND TUNNEL TESTS
Testing of a flying air scooter's lift power will be the focus of an Oct. 23 media day for reporters at NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.
NASA Ames and Millennium Jet, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, are working under a cooperative agreement during development of the company's SoloTrek XFVä (Exo-skeletor Flying Vehicle), a one-person air scooter that someday may fly commuters above traffic jams.
"Our researchers are working with engineers from Millennium Jet to test one of the air scooter's two fan assemblies in a wind tunnel to determine if they can overcome gravity and raise the vehicle from the ground," said engineer William Warmbrodt, head of the Aeromechanics Branch at NASA Ames. "We won't know if the two ducted fans, as now designed, can lift the pilot and vehicle off the ground until we do these tests."
"We have all been dreaming of such a vehicle for many years, and now the dream is becoming a reality," Millennium Jet, Inc. founder Michael Moshier said.
"NASA is interested in further developing vertical flight technologies -- from large transports to personal transportation systems," said Warmbrodt. "NASA is supporting the company's efforts in engineering, technology and testing, and giving advice when asked."
"We are doing this test in a wind tunnel because it's safe (a person does not have to pilot the vehicle). The test will result in accurate lift-force data, and we can evaluate the duct and fan system throughout its operating envelope under carefully controlled conditions," Warmbrodt said.
"Each of the five-bladed fans is about 3 feet in diameter and rotates in a housing called a fairing or duct," explained Warmbrodt. The air scooter tests are taking place in the 7-by 10-foot wind tunnel operated for NASA Ames by the U.S. Army and the Army/NASA Rotorcraft Division. By mid November, engineers hope to have final statistics to indicate if the current ducted fans are strong enough to lift the air scooter.
"The air scooter has a tripod-stand-like structure, and the pilot stands on footrests. The engine mounts to a tripod frame behind the pilot's back," Warmbrodt said.
Aeronautical engineers see potential for such air scooters to be future personal transportation systems. These vehicles could be built for one or multiple passengers with the ability to take off and land vertically and to be operated either autonomously or manually with "car-like" controls. The military could use such vehicles to bypass obstacles like land mines, blocked roads, impassable bridges or large areas of water, and for search and rescue missions.
Other potential uses for such vehicles include providing "instant-response" medical attention, adding a third, vertical dimension for sport utility vehicles, and rapid package delivery and transportation to and from airports. Workers could use these vehicles to help construct and maintain power lines, bridges and multi-story buildings. Additional uses for larger air scooters might include planting, spraying and harvesting crops, detecting and extracting land mines, conducting search and rescue missions in adverse weather and participating in major chemical and biological cleanups.
Further information on the Millennium Jet air scooter can be found at:
Details of Ames Aeromechanics program can be found at:
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: "Video file" footage related to this story is scheduled for satellite distribution to broadcasters on Oct. 23 and 24, but the TV feed schedule may be revised if the Space Shuttle landing schedule changes.
After Oct. 24, re-feeds of the material may also be available; please telephone Ray Castillo at 202/358-4555 or Fred Brown at 202/358-0713 in Washington, DC, to make a re-feed request. Please note that all TV feed times, unless otherwise listed, are Eastern Times. The NASA Video File normally airs at 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. Eastern. NASA Television is available on GE-2, transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is 3880.0 Megahertz, with audio on 6.8 Megahertz. Any changes to the line-up will appear on the NASA video file advisory on the web at
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