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CNN Today

Inventor Develops Personal Helicopter

Aired October 24, 2000 - 1:21 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's a solution to beat rush-hour traffic -- I'm getting him one for Christmas. Imagine being able to fly above the cars; not in a plane, but with your own personal helicopter strapped to your back.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Apparently not science fiction. We have Karl Sonkin, here, of our affiliate KRON, taking a closer look at this beauty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE MOSHIER, MILLENNIUM JET, INC.: You back into the machine and strap yourself in and the machine wraps its arms around you.

KARL SONKIN, KRON REPORTER (voice-over): Mike Moshier demonstrated his dream machine: the experimental Solo Track (ph), a kind of personal helicopter for the new millennium.

MOSHIER: That's aluminum honeycomb.

SONKIN: Hand-built of the same material as the nation's military jets, the Solo Track has captivated Moshier's mind and pocketbook for the last four years.

MOSHIER: It will have a range of about 150 nautical miles and a top speed of about 70 to 80 miles per hour.

SONKIN: Think of it as a possible way for future commuters to get around the bay-area's dreadful traffic jams but...

MOSHIER: Our early markets are military and, in fact, our first customer is the military, specifically the special forces.

SONKIN: Former Navy jet pilot Moshier has done a lot with a million of his own dollars and a few investors' cash; but serious money is now on the way.

MOSHIER: We just recently have been awarded $5 million from DARPA.

SONKIN: DARPA is part of the Defense Department; and now NASA is going to be testing the unique ducted fans that will power Moshier's personal helicopter. He wins and so does the government.

BILL, WARMBRODT, NASA WIND TUNNELS: We want the vehicle that -- or vehicles, that can meet any number of society's needs.

MOSHIER: I'm not the most photogenic one we have here.

SONKIN: The flier gets velcroed into the device and fires it up with a small engine.

MOSHIER: It's an ultralight aircraft engine, but it's a temporary engine.

SONKIN: The motor drives the fans, which are controlled by a kind of joystick.

MOSHIER: The pilot can lean into a turn and the machine will do just about anything you want.

SONKIN (on camera): I begged and pleaded, without much luck, to get them to fire this thing up but they said, come back in a couple of months. It'll be flying by then.

I'm Karl Sonkin, News Center Four.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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