SKÖGUL began as an idea over a decade ago, during travels to Colombia and South Africa. Like a lot of South America, the coffee region of Colombia is full of remote villages that are isolated from the main highways and towns by intense geography. The nearest university, internet café or pharmacy might be a three hour drive away in a Willy. South Africa still has a decent infrastructure and more forgiving terrain but transport issues remain in the rural states and especially regionally amongst neighbors like Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana.
Keiki needs to get to school. Opa needs to go the hospital. Poor farmers need a more direct way to bring goods to market. What was needed is a vehicle that can take off and land nearly vertically to access the postage stamp-sized central park of a typical remote rural or mountain village. Naturally, a helicopter can do this, so can STOL aircraft like the Storch or Husky. However, these aircraft are cost-prohibitive. Any machine would have to be cheap enough for local communities to consider purchase. Ideally, the training to fly this machine should not be an onerous expense: outside of the US, a pilot’s license is a luxury reserved for the elite. By similar reasoning, maintenance should also be inexpensive: ideally an aircraft mechanic should not be required.
How to beat down the construction, training and maintenance costs? Simplicity is answer across the board. Simplicity is the antidote for complexity in any field, because complexity increases costs logarithmically.
Simple to assemble. Simple to fly. Simple to maintain.
iPad driven instrumentation to simplify and to reduce cost.
Remember, as an example, a typical gasoline-powered car has 7000 parts, a comparable electric car has 700 parts.
Nothing in aviation is simpler than a paraglider: lightweight, fail-proof, inherently devoid of complexity, especially the new single-surface wings.
The SKÖGUL should be built from sustainable and local materials. From this thought came the idea of using bamboo, which pound for pound rivals steel and aircraft aluminum for tensile strength and weight.
The SKÖGUL should have a environmentally-friendly, sustainable power source: electricity. Trucking in gasoline to remote villages is just not feasible in some parts of the world. A one-time delivery of solar panels is more practical.
The surfboard is, honestly, cosmetic, and even a bit more marketing than science. But a surfboard does highlight that flying a SKÖGUL is a bit like surfing because turning can be accomplished simply by weight shifting. The surfboards should be vintage, yellow longboards. The prototype will use a Kazuma.
The SKÖGUL as it is currently designed cannot bring 200 lbs. of plantains to market. In fact, it cannot even take a passenger, but the design is scalable. The only limitation going forward is battery-power. Know that anyone familiar with the evolution of batteries will tell you that these limitations are temporary. The sky is the limit for e-aviation.