By Tami Benmayer

A futuristic utopia or 2013? The Jetsons, the 1960s cartoon series about an all-American family living in a futuristic utopia in 2062, gave viewers an imaginary glimpse into the distant future–an extraordinary world complete with elaborate robotic contraptions, whimsical inventions, and the flying car! While 50 years ago such a world seemed unbelievable, in 2013 the picture is entirely different. Technology has come far over the last half a century, and if you mix it with a small dose of Israeli chutzpah, you’ll find that the flying car is today a reality–one that you too can have a share in.

BH Jetson is an Israeli holding company that is offering Americans the chance to buy reasonably priced shares in a major project set to revolutionize 21st-century air travel. “Right now in Israel, leading aeronautics company Urban Aeronautics Ltd. is developing, testing, and perfecting a family of unique aircraft that have been designed for both military and civilian use,” commented BH Jetson Chairman Eli Gross. “We call these aircraft the ‘Jetcars’ because in essence that’s exactly what they are. Cars that fly.”

The Jetcar is a rotorless helicopter that is able to go where a regular helicopter cannot. “The aircraft we have developed is a single-engine vertical take-off and landing aircraft powered by internal rotors,” comments Dr. Rafi Yoeli, founder and CEO of Urban Aeronautics. “Helicopters are limited due to their large, open rotor. They cannot fly in mountainous, wooded, or urban terrain, and they cannot land on an incline greater than 5—10 degrees for fear that the rotor will get caught.”

Since the 1950s, scientists have been trying to develop such an aircraft but to no avail. The U.S. Army even tested a similar vehicle that was later shelved since it was heavy, slow, gas-guzzling, and unstable.

“When I started Urban Aeronautics, our main dilemma was whether technology had developed enough in the past 40 years to build a flying car that wouldn’t encounter any of the constraints of earlier models,” continues Yoeli. And indeed it had. Many of the earlier obstacles no longer exist: flight control computers now stabilize the aircraft; sensors are put to better use, allowing planes to land in fog; engines work far better; and there have also been major developments in fuel efficiency.

Considering all these technological developments, Urban Aeronautics embarked on the mission of creating a successful 21st-century version of the flying car–Israeli style. This resulted in the creation of the AirMule, the company’s flagship aircraft. “The AirMule is a compact, unmanned, single-engine aircraft, which has two internal rotors instead of a large external rotor and takes off and lands vertically,” explains Yoeli. “This means it can essentially land anywhere, such as next to buildings and other obstacles, without the worry of a rotor blade getting caught or hitting something.”

“We overcame the speed constraint by creating openings in the front and back of the vehicle to allow the air to pass through freely,” continues Yoeli. “We discovered that the reason the flying cars of the 1960s could not reach high speeds was because of aerodynamic resistance. Through these openings, however, the speed potential is increased to 100—120 knots. We also tackled the stability issue by installing movable vanes at the air duct’s intake and exhaust openings. These, together with the use of sensors, means that the AirMule maintains stability, even when flying through strong wind.”

Already of interest to the Israel Defense Forces, the AirMule’s strong advantage is that it can quickly and efficiently transport several hundred kilograms of supplies to areas inaccessible to helicopters. Its substantial payload and the design of the cargo bays mean that it can also evacuate up to two casualties at a time. In addition, because it is unmanned, it is safer to operate since its pilot stays on base, operating it by remote control. The IDF’s interest in this type of aircraft stems from lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War, when combatants found themselves in the field without sufficient food, water, and ammunition, and with a limited ability to ship their wounded to hospitals. An unmanned and reliable vehicle like the AirMule would have been ideal in these circumstances.

“We have great expectations for the AirMule, and considering the backing we have from within the Israeli Defense Forces, we know we’ll succeed,” states Yoeli. “Our goal is to develop a family of aircraft, and we’re already well on our way of actualizing it.” Other Urban Aeronautics creations include the Centaur, a single-engine manned aircraft (based on the AirMule) that can carry three to five passengers, and the X‑Hawk, which is an even larger, twin-engine aircraft that can carry up to ten passengers and fly at a speed of 155 mph.

Besides evacuating casualties and transporting troops and logistical equipment for the military, all three types of aircraft will also significantly contribute to civilian activity. From medical, law enforcement, and fire-fighting missions to electric grid inspections and repair and identifying biological warfare materials, the Jetcar is set to transform travel as we know it. “My vision is that the rotorless helicopter will become so commonplace that eventually every family will own one,” says Yoeli.

As a major shareholder in the company, BH Jetson is offering a fantastic opportunity for others to jump on the bandwagon (or Jetcar!) and invest in the future of the Jetcar. “We’re confident that the Jetcar will be a success and will change the way the world views air travel, both in the military and civilian spheres,” comments Gross. “Obviously, like all investments, there are risks involved and we therefore encourage potential investors to consult with us and other professionals before they invest. But, with clear skies ahead for the future of the company, we would urge people not to miss out!”

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