it's great, and I can see many uses. i'm sure it would go a lot further and higher if it was unmanned so i think they should go remote controlled, it could be the first farm flying robot, hovering over the fruittrees, with multiple picking arms, each with it's own visual recogition camera so each arm finds and picks it's own pickable peach, until the tree is bare and moves on to the next.
hovering beside that robot craft could be another with no arms, just a catch net where the picking arms toss the fruit into, when full it signals for another and hovers it's way back to the processing plant, the picking arm could also have clipper attatchments so they then could prune the trees after harvest.
I don't want to give the impression that I'm unimpressed; I think that this is pretty cool, and if it did lead to a transition to energy-efficient flying cars, well we'd have a solution for gridlock, the ability to live as far away from work in a straight line as we could afford in time, and, most importantly, population control for those who can't even seem to navigate a two-dimensional environment.
I don't know how permaculture this is. Or at least, I can think of a more permie way to fly: Airships.
No, I didn't just wake from a Rip-Van-Winkle. Check out the Airships page on wikipedia, paying special attention to the steam airship projects.
Leaving most of the technical arguments aside, a vehicle that measures its time aloft in days or months is logically more sustainable than one that uses the same level of technology (with respect to its impact on the environment) but can only work for the hour or two its batteries last. Moreover, if such a vehicle were designed to make (exclusive) use of renewables, and derive its lift from steam taken as the byproduct of (hopefully) clean industry, as an example, food miles could have less impact on environment.
But I'd still like to be able to fly to work, commuting for the same amount of time, but going three times further.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
They gave me pumpkin ice cream. It was not pumpkin pie ice cream. Wiping my tongue on this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home