Since everybody seems to be talking these days about flying cars, specifically the Terrafugia (the company excels at promoting its Transition model, which recently got a weight allowance boost from FAA), I thought I’d update my earlier post about the I-TEC Maverick Sport Model. *** It’s a cool idea, this flying car developed for missionary work in third-world countries like the Amazon rainforest, where getting from village to village can be daunting to impossible for traditional vehicles. *** Instead of folding wings, it uses a paraglider-style canopy for lift. I-TEC (Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center) spent seven years in development. I talked with one of the I-TECcies at Sun ‘n Fun 2010 and they’re pretty proud of this compact, relatively inexpensive vehicle. *** Changing from road warrior to sky king takes just a few minutes. Once rigged, the fabric-fuselage Maverick lifts off in 250 feet, climbs at 500 feet per minute, and rips along at just under 40 knots. *** It tips the scales at the LSA-legal max of 1,320 pounds, with no special FAA allowance required. *** One nice innovation is the mast/spar system, which makes inflating the canopy easier than the conventional powered parachute method. *** The car/bird is Florida street legal now, can keep up with traffic on the highways, and rides and flies using the steering wheel and gas pedal. *** Floats are even available! *** [UPDATE 7/8/10 — Jim Lawrence refers to “street legal,” but LAMA auditor Jim Stephenson called to tell me I-Tec’s Maverick was nearing approval as an official SLSA. We hope I-Tec can soon join our SLSA List as the newest Light-Sport once some queries from the Orlando MIDO are resolved. *** Why the mast, you ask? Maverick was created to serve missionaries working in the mountainous Andes where wide-open landing areas are very rare. Maverick’s short takeoff helps, but the landing areas can be so compact and so rough that laying out the canopy in the conventional manner associated with powered parachutes doesn’t work. The mast holds the canopy aloft for, and hastens, inflation. *** For a little fun, check the Maverick videos to see what a hot rod this flying car is when used on the road. –DJ]
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