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Comment Re:Firefighting increases forest fire size (Score 1) 191

California forestry service does prescribed burns periodically, during the wet parts of the year. But it's getting complicated by the recent dry years - too much of tinder-dry undergrowth and dead trees have accumulated. The windows for safe burns are becoming smaller especially given the vast population of California.

Comment Finally, progress (Score 1) 135

VTOL pretty much means "helicopters" (we discount military jets with vectored engines). And helicopter manufacturers are stuck in 70-s.

And you can't really make a traditional helicopter cheaper, you have lots of expensive parts because a failure of any of them will cause lithobraking followed by rapid unplanned disassembly. And they can't experiment with multi-rotor systems because the weight of mechanical transmission is prohibitive.

Fortunately, we now have powerful batteries and electric motors. Creating a helicopter or a multi-rotor aircraft capable of lifting a human is not too complicated because of insane power-to-weight ratio of electric propulsion. There are several companies doing just that.

There's still a problem with energy density - it's easy to take off vertically, but the flight time will be around 15-20 minutes.

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It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln