More than half of all personal aircraft accidents occur during takeoffs or landings. That’s why inventor and entrepreneur JoeBen Bevirt—known for designing airplane-like wind energy turbines—is intent on making runways obsolete. Bevirt, 40, has mobilized his wind energy team to create a personal electric airplane called S2 that takes off vertically, like a helicopter, and flies aerodynamically, like an airplane.
No full-scale prototype exists yet, but Bevirt and his team have built about two dozen 10-pound models to demonstrate their concept works. NASA has taken notice and is now funding the development of a 55-pound unmanned aerial vehicle.