WORLD’S FIRST FLYING UTV
— Should you get one? —
While we anxiously await Honda’s unveiling of its first sport UTV since the Pilot and Odyssey (Honda recently applied for a trademark application for the Talon) a new dual-engine UTV has hit the market and promised to change the sport forever.
As UTVs get more powerful, better suspended and faster, we have several daredevils vying to be the world-record UTV jump holder. RJ Anderson, Ryan Piplic, Travis Pastrana and the Nitro Circus crew, as well as Al McBeth of Concept Distributing, have all held the UTV jump record, with McBeth’s leap measuring 198 feet (the current record).
The new SkyRunner will obliterate any and all previous UTV jump records, as it can fly up to 40 mph for a distance of 120 nautical miles. The SkyRunner starts as a Polars RZR XP 1000 but loses the factory chassis for a tubular aircraft chassis with inline two-seat configuration, and it loses the 4WD system for ground transport. Tucked low in the SkyRunner chassis, the ProStar twin powers the rear wheels, while a Rotax/BRP, 115-horsepower, 914 UL engine powers a 72-inch, three-blade, Warp Drive propeller for flight.
A 38-foot parasail “wing” comes out of a storage bin behind the passenger seat for flight, and the FAA-approved off-road aircraft needs only 450 feet of terra firma for take-off and 400 feet for landing. With no cabin to pressurize, the flight ceiling is 10,000 feet, and the BRP engine will propel the SkyRunner up at a maximum climb rate of 375 fpm (feet per minute). Maximum speed is 62 mph, and stall speed is half that at 31 mph, with the wing area being 550 square feet. With a 14.7-gallon fuel cell, the range is 120 nautical miles with a operating cost of around $50 per hour. It’s way less expensive than operational costs of a helicopter.
Originally designed as a toy along the lines of Little Nellie in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice or the Sky Pilot’s gyro-copter in Mad Max: The Road Warrior, the SkyRunner came to being as the ultimate adventure vehicle—an affordable, multi-modal tool for ranchers, law enforcement, border security and Department of Defense agencies. It was awarded the Federal Aviation Administration’s coveted Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) classification in 2016.
Better yet, it only takes eight days and 12 hours of flight training to get a Sport Pilot license, and you don’t need an airport. The Maxxis Bighorn tires and Fox shocks smooth out take-offs and landings. Sport Pilots can legally and safely use 98 percent of U.S. airspace without having to talk to air-traffic controllers (ATC). The SkyRunners are manufactured in Shreveport, Louisiana. But before you head out to purchase one, hold onto your helmet, because the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $139,000! After all, carbon fiber costs a lot these days.
Check it out at www.flyskyrunner.com—heat-seaking rockets, aerial mines and flame throwers are not included.
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