Posted by Big Gav
PhysOrg has an article on an electric powered, NASA designed personal aircraft - Puffin: the one-person electric aircraft.
The 3.7-meter-long craft has two wings with a combined wingspan of 4.1 meters. Each wing is has a 2.3 meter wide propeller. Flaps on the wings direct the air from the rotors upward while the aircraft is on the ground, and then direct it downwards allowing the Puffin to rise, and then hover as it leans over to begin its flight with the craft (and pilot) horizontal.
The aircraft was designed by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and M-DOT Aerospace. It is designed to be manufactured from carbon fiber composites and would weigh only around 135 kg, plus 45 kg of rechargeable lithium phosphate batteries.
The Puffin’s electric motors produce virtually no emissions, and can lift its payload of one person with only 60 horsepower. The motors are up to 95% efficient, while internal combustion engines the same size would only rate at around 20% efficient, and electric motors are up to 20 times more reliable than piston engines because they have fewer moving parts.