Forget the Segway: Get to Work in this Puffin Pesonal Air Vehicle (PAV) from NASA


Video animation for conceptual design of a Personal Air Vehicle [NO AUDIO].

Conceptual design focusing on the ability of a redundant electric propulsion system to provide new capabilities for Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft. Specifically utilizing electric motor variable rpm to accomplish a low tipspeed prop-rotor (400 ft/sec tip speed at hover and 200 ft/sec at cruise) to accomplish an order of magnitude reduction in community noise for close proximity operations (30-40 db reduction). The variable rpm capability also achieves a 25% improvement in prop-rotor efficiency through operation at optimal advance ratios. But don’t expect to land it in your backyard. See why below …


Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Defined by NASA
Seats 2 to 6 passengers.
150-200 mph (322 km/h) cruising speed.
Quiet.
Safe.
Comfortable.
Reliable.
Able to be flown by anyone with a driver’s license.
As affordable as travel by car or airliner.
Near all-weather capability enabled by Synthetic Vision Systems.
Highly fuel efficient (able to use alternative fuels).
800 mile (1300 km) range.
Provide “door-to-door” travel capabilities, via vehicle roadability, or small residential airfields or vertiports with only a short walk from the aircraft to the final destination.

Real Obstacles to PAV
A pure Synthetic Vision System infrastructure (set of technologies that use 3D to provide pilots with clear and intuitive means of understanding their flying environment) does not exist for general aviation aircraft. Current implementations of “Glass Cockpits” are now being adopted by general aircraft manufactures such as Cirrus Aircraft, Piper, Cessna, and Beechcraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system is not currently capable of handling the increase in aircraft traffic that would be generated by PAVs. The FAA is planning the Next Generation Air Transportation System targeted for 2025 to expand and completely transform the current aged system. See FAA NGATS Modeling by NASA and others have shown that PAV’s using new smaller community airports would reduce traffic into larger airports serving the commercial fleet.
Of the two methods proposed for providing “door-to-door” capabilities, only the roadable option can be achieved utilizing existing airport facilities and ordinary roads. Currently, the only vehicles able to legally take off and land from a residential street are life-flight helicopters via special permission granted by the FAA on a case-by-case basis. In order to meet the goals set by NASA, thousands of small residential airports would be required.
Community noise generated by aircraft is a factor for residential PAVs. Without lower noise levels enabling residential landing capabilities, any PAV must still take off and land at an FAA controlled airport or private airfield, where the higher sound levels of operating aircraft have been approved.
Studies have been made in making helicopters and jets less noisy, but noise levels remain high. In 2005 a simple method of reducing noise was identified: keep aircraft at a higher altitude during landing, called Continuous Descent Approach.

Next Generation Air Transportation System Targeted for 2025
The NextGen system is a system that will involve using GPS to manage and separate air traffic, deploy an infrastructure with system wide data information management (SWIM), deploy improved Data Communications to enhance current voice communications system, deploy an improved standardized system of weather observation and forecasting capabilities, and deploy a national airspace voice system that will dynamically manage regional voice communications centers according to workload.