PAVs, or Personal Air Vehicles, are new small aircraft which are designed to be used by a large segment of Americans to commute to and from work, or for shopping trips. NASA has been working to develop PAV concepts as a solution for America's future mobility requirements.
The dream is to have all-weather STOL (Short Take Off & Landing) PAVs which can take people from their neighborhood to destinations with speeds three to four times better than airliners or cars. A NASA white paper predicts that nearly fortyfive percent of all travel in the future may be made by these PAVs.
The plan is to reduce congestion in and around hub airports and save a lot of the fuel wasted by gridlock on the highways and flyways of the United States each year. They estimate the savings to be around 6.8 billion gallons of fuel per year will be saved.
NASA Centennial Challenges has put up $ 2M cash prizes for a flight competition called the PAV Challenge. This challenge is similar to the X-Prize which lead to civilian sub-orbital flight. NASA hopes that these PAVs will feature the following:
- A 150-200 mph car that can fly above the surface traffic
- A safe, comfortable and quiet vehicle
- Simple operation of the vehicle similar to that of a car
- Affordable operation costs similar to those of a car or airline ticket
- All weather operations utilizing synthetic vision
- Fuel efficient
- 800 mile range
- Ability to use short runways
I don't know about you, but I could sure use one. My wife and I just returned from a trip to Cape Cod by car from Michigan. Two days out, two days back, a week at the Cape. It was sure worth it, but wouldn't it have been cool to have had a PAV to jump in and scoot over to the Cape in a couple of hours? I'm ready, and I'm sure you are too!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!