Once upon a time, we imagined flying cars. Think The Jetsons and Back to the Future. While we haven’t reached that point (yet), there’s a glimpse of the future on the market now: a flying all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The brainchild of CEO Stewart Hamel, the SkyRunner travels by land and air, taking the driver and passenger virtually anywhere. Because sometimes where you need to go doesn’t have roads.
The current SkyRunner model evolved from an original prototype that first appeared in 2008. The design and styling have changed based on testing and use-case improvements, with a strong commitment to safety and efficiency. The fundamental appeal is the adrenaline-fueled sense of adventure SkyRunner evokes.
To see a SkyRunner in person is to stand, mouth hanging open, asking yourself, “When did Transformers become real?” The body construction uses carbon fiber body panels and seamless, air-hardened, heat-treated steel tubing to achieve immense strength but with less weight. The open architecture — think exoskeleton — delivers a stripped-back driving experience that also helps eliminate unnecessary structural weight. SkyRunner’s inverted double wishbone suspension is the perfect partner to its inherent chassis control, which helps to handle either rough roads or sharp corners equally well. In addition, an elevated midline positioning, heavy-duty shocks and responsive brakes on the SkyRunner’s smartly designed suspension system ensure that you can traverse rugged terrain without incident and as comfortably as possible.
Inside, the sleek design of SkyRunner’s dash eliminates distracting dials and switches. All of the focus is on the controls needed to operate the vehicle smoothly on land or in the air. Plus, the systems are smartly divided on either side of the steering column, with the air systems on the left and the ground systems on the right.
SkyRunner is equipped with dual power systems, one for ground transport and one for air. On the ground, the ProStar 1000’s powerful, ultra-smooth engine provides a range of 240 miles and a maximum speed of 70 mph. In the air, the Rotax 914 UL — the same engine used in the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-1B Predator — features 115 horsepower that when paired with ram-air parafoil wing technology gives the SkyRunner a flight range of 120 miles and a maximum airspeed of 40 mph.
When in flight, the SkyRunner is remarkably easy to operate. It has only two flight controls — left and right steering via hand-held toggles — and a throttle pedal to climb or descend. This intuitive flight system makes SkyRunner one of the easiest and safest forms of flight to master. While a sport pilot certificate is required, it takes only 12 hours of instruction to complete. Sport pilots can carry a passenger and operate in certain types of controlled airspace, but only fly aircraft lighter than average private-piloted aircraft.
Without a doubt, the SkyRunner heartily embraces serious adventure. However, SkyRunner was also designed with some very serious operators in mind such as upstream and midstream oil and gas producers, emergency medical teams, search-and-rescue teams, ranchers, U.S. border control and other public safety agencies working in remote and rugged terrain.
Try It on for Size
The SkyRunner is on the market and available for purchase through a specialized dealer network. The best way to appreciate the innovation and adventure potential of the SkyRunner is to experience it firsthand.
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Copyright 2017 SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine