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Personal commuter planes on the horizon

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April 3, 2006

Americus -- Developers call it the ultimate motorcycle, but it doesn't travel on roads.

Carter Aviation Technologies designed a personal air vehicle that's easy to pilot, and could one day be a common form of transportation. They made a stop at South Georgia Technical College to show off the technology on Monday.

Today's children are tomorrow's drivers, so will this be the car they fly into the future with? We asked if when they turn 16, they'll be flying, instead of driving a car? seven-year-old Nikita says, "I don't know."

Do you think you'll be flying one of these, instead of driving a car? Eleven-year- old Sarah-Anne says, "I doubt it, but it would be really cool if I were."

Pilot George Mitchell, not to be confused with George Jetson, says it is cool, and practical.  "It removes the limitation of the automobile, that you have to be on a road, and you have to follow the road."

It's as simple to operate as playing a video game machine. You can go forward, backwards, and side to side. And Carter Aviation Technologies hopes to have them available for public purchase in about five to 10 years.

The children on hand today, could be driving, or flying one of these, in the future. "By the time they're grown, absolutely. That's what we're hoping for," Mitchell says.

So is Sarah-Anne.  "I'd probably be begging for one."

But she may have to beg for a loan first. The one-seater demonstrated today will run close to $30,000. An enclosed family-style personal air vehicle will be closer to $100,000.

 The aircraft also made a stop in Tifton this afternoon. A four-seater personal air vehicle should be ready for testing in the next few years.

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