NASA unveils design for personal aircraft

It’s 2010. Admit it, we all thought we’d be cruising around in flying cars and have personal jetpacks by now. Instead, we’re still stuck on the ground, tethered to the Earth by gravity, while dreaming about zipping through the clouds like George Jetson.

Earlier this week NASA has released a design for a small, one-man, personal aircraft that could be the answer to our prayers however. The vehicle, known as the Puffin, stands just 12-feet in height and has a wingspan of roughly 14-feet. It weight just 300 pounds, sans pilot of course, and has vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. Designer Mark D. Moore says that the Puffin is capable of sustained speeds of 150 mph, with bursts up to 300 mph when necessary. It could also potentially reach heights of 30,000 feet and is powered by a quiet, energy efficient, electrical engine.

What’s the catch? That electrical engine doesn’t really hold much of a charge right now, so the Puffin’s effective range is roughly 50 miles. That means it might be okay for a morning commute, but don’t plan on flying off to Europe for the weekend. At least not until battery technology improves.

Check out the concept video below for more on the Puffin.