>Real in the sense that it is actually flying, and also, seriously cool!
>It's a Japanese coaxial helicopter with four small engines. Ultimately
>controls, an it might even go on sale soon. This is the way to beat the
>traffic on Hwy. 237 (on the way to your Space Command job in the Blue Cube at
I saw this machine, and talked with the inventor at the EAA convention last summer. He said kits would begin at around $30K US. THe copter is capable of landing safely on any two engines, and has chip detection in the gearbox to warn of wear. Looked like a fun gadget, at least for sunny daylight use. It's not a true helicopter, in that it has no blade pitch controls. It's essentially two big propellers that you hang from. If all the engines quit, it could autorotate you straight down, without much control sideways. I believe they were going to put a ballistic parachute on top of the rotors, in case of catastrophe.
The November NASA Tech Briefs (page 16) had a blurb on another personal VTOL craft - a twin ducted prop 'exoskeleton' with embedded intelligence that could refuse to operate except for autorized users. The company is Millennium Jet of Santa Clara, California. Sounds a bit too overly complex in the processor department for my liking, and it can't autorotate as the coaxial machine could. Definitely a case for a parachute...