The snowmobiles that spread virus-like into Yellowstone each winter might be viewed as the working-man's version of the recently designed AeroTrekking vehicle pictured here. Because this is a rich man's toy, the usual argument for allowing snowmobiles in roadless areas and public lands in general can't yet be made for the Aerotrekker: e.g. let regular folks, the elderly, or the unfit enjoy remote places. No doubt the search and rescue rationale will come along, followed by some military variation. Cost will come down and the cry of the loon will be merged with the roar of not-so distant engines. Lake and marsh skimming, remote beach access...you get it.
"McAfee, the man behind McAfee anti-virus software, is helping to bring a new type of aviation to the Southwest. Aerotrekking is a sport that involves following the terrain, often skimming just a few feet above the ground, visiting wild and beautiful places that could never be reached on foot or by car." Never be reached is a pretty strong limitation, one we doubt that would remain the norm were the technology popularized.
"The low-altitude high of aerotrekking is possible thanks to machinery that resembles a motorcycle with ultralight wings. It is powered by a rear propeller and guided by a steering bar at the pilot's fingertips. The planes have a range of 300 miles or about five hours in the air. Expensive models can hit 115 mph or, just as important for this sport, a minimum speed of 25 mph."
The full article is definitely worth a read. Via::Arizona Republic, "Trek into Arizona wilderness - 15 feet off the ground Ultralight helps explore the West's most beautiful places" Image credit:: Pat Shannahan/The Arizona Republic