I’m extremely hesitant to condone anything that uses both “DIY” and “personal aircraft” in the same sentence, but this latest project from the do-it-yourself mecca Instructable might be worth a closer look. Unlike other Da Vinci-esque self-made flying machines, paramotoring is actually one of the safest ways to enjoy the skies. You essentially have a parachute deployed above you at all times, so if the engine stops working you just float back down to earth.
Building a paramotor from scratch will take a considerable amount of time and patience, but the final bill should only be somewhere around $2000-$5000. No bad for being able to walk out your front door and fly down the street. Let’s see your Buick LaSaber do that! You can check out the full set of instructions here, or watch this deceivingly easy “how to” video.
Making its NCAA basketball debut this past Veteran’s Day, the USS Carl Vinson became the first active aircraft carrier to host a nationally televised college sporting event. While the game was surrounded by a fair deal of “pomp and circumstance”, this behind-the-scene video shows what life is really like aboard the Nimitz Class carrier the other 364 days of the year. With enough timelapsed take-offs and landings to leave even the most ardent Top Gun fanatics stunned in awe, this video is a fitting tribute to the dedication and professionalism displayed by our men in uniform everday. Filmed and Edited by The Seventh Movement.
It’s amazing what 240 miles in the right direction can do to your sense of perspective. It can take you from New York to Boston, or, if taken straight up, can give you this breath-taking view of the planet as seen from the International Space Station. There was a version of this video posted earlier this month, but this one is gorgeously processed and edited by Michael König. A list of the areas pasted over can be found here.
- The E-Volo personal helicopter takes the next step in making human flight even more dangerous. Sitting on a bouncy exercise ball over a giant flying blender couldn’t possibly turn out poorly [Design Boom]
- Environmental artist and fabric fiend Christo plans to cover a 42 mile stretch of the Arkansas River with a cloth canopy. We think it would be a better idea to cover a 42 mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike. [NY Times]
- One part majestic and one part terrifying, a murmuration of starlings captured on film. [Vimeo]
- We tend to agree: It’s Better in the Wind. [Pipe Burn]
This week marks the official launch of Triumph’s Tiger Explorer, a newly designed adventure touring motorcycle that’s looking to upset the balance of the ATV motorcycling world. For years the BMW GS had been the undisputed champion of long-haul dual-sport riding. There have been an array of lighter, sportier variations like the Ducati MultiStrada, KTM 990 Supermoto, and the Yamaha Tenere, but nothing to compete head to head with the GS, until now.
Built around a brand new 1215cc Inline Triple engine, the Tiger Explorer produces an impressive 135 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque at 6499 rpm. Unlike the GS, it features adjustable traction control, cruise control and on the fly ABS controls as part of the base model. Designed to offer maximum comfort for the rider and passenger, the Explorer offers adjustable rider seat height, handlebar position and windscreen for day long comfort in the saddle. A 950w generator allows the simultaneous running of multiple electrical accessories, including heated seats for both rider and passenger, heated hand grips, high power fog lights and a top box with integrated power supply for charging on the move. Triumph also plans to offer a large range of optional Explorer accessories including: 60 liter side panniers, a variety of crash guards, Tire Pressure Monitoring System as well as full line of adventure ready helmets, jackets, pants and boots.
The Tiger Explorer has everything an adventure motorcyclist could ask for, except one thing: a track record. The modern incarnation of the BMW GS has been pounding around back country of the world since the R1100GS was first introduced in 1995, which has given the German engineers invaluable field experience to draw upon. However, the British team over at Triumph definitely have the technological edge with the Tiger Explorer. Only time will tell which is the better bike.
The Philadelphia-based motorcycle shop Hammarhead marks their first foray into the word of human-powered machines with the launch of the Duomatic bicycle. They’ve taken their simple yet modern philosophy towards motorcycle design and put it into this sleek 2-speed urban commuter. Without a motor to worry about they were able to really let their minimalist side go. Deliveries start January 2012.
Unlike the over-the-top Adirondack kitsch employed by the US National Park services, the Norwegian government knows how to pair modern design with natural beauty. The most recent example is the Snohetta-designed reindeer observation pavilion located in the scenic Dovrefjell National Park. This heated structure was commissioned by the National Wild Reindeer Foundation so visitors could enjoy the stunning vistas of the north country without freezing to death. The beautiful wooden interior was inspired by the weather worn features of the surrounding rock formations, resulting in a modern piece of design that feels strangely at home in the desolate Scandinavian tundra.
It seems like Jon Ward has been burning the midnight oil over at Icon 4×4. Having just finished a run of custom Ford Broncos, he and his team are also releasing the latest in their ongoing Derelict Series: a 1952 Chevy Deluxe Business Man’s coupe. The Derelict Series looks to rescue timeless classics that have been reduced to clattering rust buckets through years of neglect. The cars are stripped down and rebuilt from the frame up using hidden modern components. While the interiors are restored back to their former glory, the exteriors are left untouched, giving them sort of a Mad Max post-apocalyptic look.
This particular Chevy Deluxe was found languishing in a barn in Texas with only 8,000 original miles, but now it features an Art Morrison powder coated chassis, fuel injected 430 hp Camaro 6.2 LS3 engine, wild caught Florida alligator and domestic buffalo interior, Aston Martin vintage mohair headliner, Focal and Parrot audio with Bluetooth. It may look like a total junker rolling up to the line, but it’s a bat out hell coming off it.
For many people, this is the stuff nightmares are made of. Balancing on a 1 inch thick line across a gaping chasm is not exactly something to be giddy about, but the high flying crew in Seb Montaz-Rosset’s new documentary I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies) seem to be having a blast. Far from being the intense and stoic individuals normally associated with these types of death-defying feats, Seb and his “skyliners” keep an unusually jovial attitude as they cartwheel off cliffs with parachutes and repeatedly fall from their lines, saved only by their short tether. Normally our first response to stunts like this is: ” Why would you ever want to do that?”, but after seeing how much fun they’re having dancing over the jaws of death, the allure suddenly becomes a lot more apparent.
The Honda MotoCompo was launched in 1981 as the first compact collapsible scooter designed to fit in the trunk of a small sedan. It was marketed alongside the unspeakably ugly Honda City as a fun youthful accessory as this brochure advertisement and ridiculously over-the-top commercial demonstrate. Unfortunately, while sales of the Honda City took off, nobody opted for the MotoCompo add-on. The product was discontinued in 1983 after only selling 53,000 units, mainly in Japan. Since then the proto-Transformer scooter has become a highly sought after cult favorite.
Its air-cooled 49cc 2-stroke motor delivers a meager 2.5 horsepower, but where it lacks in power it tries to make up for in range. It’s been reported to get over 100 miles per gallon, but since the tank can only hold .58 gallons the claim is a bit of a misrepresentation. The space-saving box construction also offers very little in terms of ergonomic comfort, making long hauls rather impractical. But for shorter trips there’s no doubt that riding around on a MotoCompo is the most fun you’ll ever have this side of 50cc. With its retro-futuristic look and surprising spunk, we’d take it over a unsightly Honda City any day.