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They Did What?: 

Singapore students design bonkers flying machine


Snowstorm takes you airborne for up to five minutes.

If you could have any superpower, which would you have? A lot of people pick flight, but it could soon be a wasted wish thanks to a new personal flying machine designed by the National University of Singapore.

It’s called Snowstorm, and it was created as part of an engineering project called FW Air: Electric Aviation, which aims to develop the word’s first functional flying car. Admittedly, it’s not quite that, but it’s still pretty cool.

The prototype model has room for one, capable of staying off the ground for around five minutes at a time. It’s powered by a D.C. battery, while the hexagonal frame is composed of light aluminum, carbon fiber, and Teflon ropes. Although the student engineers worked hard to bring the weight down, you still need to weigh less than 70 kilograms (11 stone) if you want to take Snowstorm to the skies.

“The toughest part of this engineering challenge was ensuring a good thrust to weight ratio to allow the craft to lift a person into the air,” said Shawn Sim, a student who worked on the design. “In some instances, we even 3D-printed parts, such as our landing gear mount, just so we can have a customized and optimal fit.”

Although sending a person airborne required an engineering balancing act, the team insists that Snowstorm is safe. As well as the successful test run (above), the contraption includes a five-point safety harness, inflatable landing pads and a separate switch so the machine can be controlled from the ground in emergencies.

If you’re eyeing up Snowstorm to spice up your commute, though, then you can forget it. The team say their invention is being developed as a recreational aircraft to be used in a large outdoor space.

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