Popular Mechanicss has an interesting story up about a man who has designed a flying car in the hopes of using it the Amazon to save the lives of people living in remote villages.
58-year old Steve Saint is a former missionary to Ecuador, a country his family moved to back in the 1950’s when they were working with the Quechua Indians, and later the Huaorani as well. Saint, and the article swears that is his real name, was acutely aware of how remote and cut off from the world the Amazon Basin is. The article says that it can be a months walk through the jungle to the nearest hospital, and I can tell you from a first hand basis that I believe that estimate. So, in order to overcome this problem, Saint decided to design a flying car that could take off without the need of a runway.
The result is the “Maverick”, a vehicle that is equal parts dune buggy, power boat, and para-glider. With a 128-horse power engine, a rear mounted propeller, and a deployable kite, the Maverick can hit 80 miles per hour on pavement then transition to an off road vehicle for trails, before taking off into the wild blue yonder through the use of the kite. The FAA has just granted Saint approval of the design, meaning it can now proceed with flight tests, which have already gone as high as 1000 feet and more than 20 miles in distance.
The eventual plan is to make these cheap, easy to operate, and available for remote tribes in the Amazon to use as an emergency vehicle when necessary. Check out the story for more details, including the amazing story of Saint’s interaction with the Huaorani tribes.
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