This is pretty cool, I have to say: a flying…what, waterbike? Winged pontoon? Powered box kite? Here’s the home page for *** Flynano: and doesn’t this supremely giddy pilot in the illustration remind you of U2′s Bono? Hmmm…backer? Person of Interest? Is Lindsay Lohan going to buy one? Stay tuned… *** A year ago, I wrote about these enterprising and clever folks behind the Flynano project. They made a (cue: drum roll) big splash at Europe’s 2011 Aero show when they introduced the mockup. Frankly, I confess to a tad of private skepticism: it looked like a long shot to ever fly, let alone actually come to market. That’s why I try to curb my public expressions of criticism: it’s so easy to be proven wrong. *** I was concerned that although the boxwing concept — a joined upper/lower wing, tailless design — has been proven, (and even marketed in Europe as the Sunny Boxwing, see video at bottom), the Flynano could easily have been just another blue-sky, briefly-ballyhooed project, like so many that have come down the pike (do the name Moeller Aircar ring a familiar note?) *** Yet how cool indeed ‘twould be if this easy-fly skimmer-bug of a recreational aircraft that only operates from the water could actually fly? *** Now I must confess I’m wearing egg — or lake water — on my face, because Flynano has indeed flown…under electric power yet…and the developers say they hope to bring it to market as an ultralight-style aircraft by the end of the year. Congrats to all at Flynano! *** Here’s the vid: *** *** I won’t hold my breath expecting Flynano to be in production by year’s end — production predictions are almost universally wildly optimistic (except in the case of LSA maker Pipistrel, which seems to revel in the satisfaction of keeping its promises) — but after watching the video on the website linked above, it does at least seem to be airworthy. How airworthy remains to be seen but it could turn out to be a fun ride game changer for the aquatic thrill seekers among us. *** My one casual viewing of the video did raise some questions: the short-coupled boxwing aerodynamics do seem to induce some pretty pitch-sensitive oscillations. Deft piloting may be required here, which would require a training version of Flynano. And the bottom wing so close to the water on a very, very flat and undisturbed water surface seems to relegate the craft to lake or broad-river flying…on light-wind days. Doesn’t look like it would be suited for ocean or even mild-wave operations. *** Yet there are placid bodies of water big and small just about everywhere in the world. All, though, are subject to wind waves, which can come up in a hurry. And since the Flynano is not an amphib — it’s meant for water only — it seems likely this will be a vehicle people would use like they use jet skis, for close-to-water zipping around to wow the girls and guys on the beach and so on. *** Flynano could turn out to be a budget-challenged pilot’s Icon A5. By the way, big news looms on the horizon about the long-awaited A5, which just recently demonstrated for FAA its impressive stall resistance capabilities. I’m sworn to secrecy but soon as the story pops, I’ll post here. *** But it’s an intriguing little critter for sure. I’ll hope to be disavowed of my reservations as they progress because it looks like it could be a whale (porpoise?) of a lot of fun to fly. Latest projected price is €32.000, or just over $40K. *** Meanwhile, here are a couple videos of the Sunny Boxwing, an ultralight that was built in Germany throughout the 90′s. It demonstrates the nimble, fun-flying, (and highly stall-resistant) features of the boxwing concept. *** *** This is the European certified version. *** *** And this is the original, low-rez promo (filmed in the 90s) from the designer that has some pretty flying footage. For an old ultralighter and LSA pilot like m’self, it looks like a lot of fun.
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