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Mon, Apr 01, 2024

LSA Startup Revives Inflatoplane Concept

Company Hopes To Offer Airplane At Under $100,000

04.01.24 Aero-News April 1 Special Edition (Classic)

A startup company has launched a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of reviving the inflatable airplane concept explored by Goodyear 60 years ago, and which was cancelled in 1973.

The company, HotAirAirplane LLC, says on its GoFundMe page that it has acquired the rights to the Inflatoplane from Goodyear, and plans to offer an LSA for under $100,000. “This would be the ultimate LSA,” said HotAirAirplane cofounder Scotty “Crackin’” Wise.

“I was deep-diving Wikipedia for unusual concepts when I came across this little gem,” Wise said. “Goodyear designed a two-seat version of this airplane, and immediately, I thought ‘LSA’. It meets the weight requirements, is intended for short flights, just something to go out and have fun with. So I’m hoping that the concept will appeal to budget-conscious sport pilots and nostalgia buffs alike,” he said.

The plane was initially designed for the military to drop to downed pilots so that they could fly themselves to safety.  Wise hopes that now there will be a civilian use for the bird.

Wise is no stranger to inflatables, having made his fortune in inflatable yard ornaments. “Initially it was just the big, blow-up Santa in the front yard, and now look how that market has exploded. It’s time to take that concept into the aviation world.”

Advantages of the HotAirAirplane include the ability to deflate the aircraft and store it in your garage, then put it in the back of a pickup truck and drive to an airport, or anywhere there is enough room to get it off the ground. “Airplanes with folding wings for storage are about to become so passe,” Wise said. “This is getting closer to the concept of George Jetson’s Flying Car.”

Wise hopes to have a prototype flying by AirVenture 2024.



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