The Atlantic: The Wind Turbine That Flies Like a Helicopter, July 11, 2012
Corwin Hardham doesn't usually drive to the company he runs, Makani Power. He doesn't always bike either. "I've windsurfed to work," the ultrafit CEO told me. " I've kitesurfed to work. I've stand-up paddled to work."
Luckily for him, his company's offices are located on old naval base on the little island of Alameda, which sits an industrial channel away from Oakland. There, in a building that looks like a backdrop for the movie Top Gun complete with control tower and waving palm trees, Hardham is trying to lead his company through the startup valley of death.
Makani has a new way of generating power from the wind. Makani has a flying wind machine. It looks like a wing with two propellers and some landing gear, and in all honesty, that's precisely what it is. The machine takes off like a helicopter and then moves into position hundreds of feet up in the air (later models will go even higher). At that point, the propellers its been using to move switch their role and become the blades for the wind generator that flies aboard the wing.