Image from P Bourne (copyrighted used with permission)
Atmospheric transportation refers to vehicles and devices of various sorts for travel through gases, either in a planetary atmosphere or in the air of a large hab or worldhouse.
Image from Kevin Williams (copyright used with permission)
Aerospace Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall A field of engineering that combines aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, aerospace mechanics, virch simulations, materials science, energy use, nanofabrication and vehicular structures.
Aircar - Text by Todd Drashner Small personal aircraft often used for short to medium range transportation on planetary surfaces or within habitats and megastructures.
Aircraft - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Any vehicle capable of atmospheric travel at higher than ground-effect level. Depending on the local environment and technology available, the form the aircraft takes can vary greatly. May be lighter than air (dirigible) or heavier than air; propelled by microscopic cilia, actuators or aerofoils or by macroscopic propellers or turbines; dumb, smart, or sentient; subsonic or supersonic, etc. By definition, aircraft are unable to function in a vacuum, although there are amphibious and triphibious vehicles that can function underwater, on-land, and in the air. Also most exoatmospheric shuttles and fighter-craft can function equally well in an atmosphere or in a vacuum.
Bubblehabs - Text by Stephen Inniss Artificial habitats that float in an atmosphere, usually the atmosphere of a cool gas giant or ice giant planet.
Dirigible - Text by Stephen Inniss A neutrally buoyant atmospheric vehicle that is distinguished from other aerostats such as balloons by the fact that it can be steered and propelled. Dirigibles have remained a feature life on planets or in the larger habitats such as Bishop rings or Banks orbitals ever since the gas giants of Solsys were colonized in the Interplanetary Age. Fixed-wing craft are still preferred for rapid transport, but dirigibles of one kind or another are ubiquitous as automated cargo carriers and are also popular as leisure craft.
Exoatmospheric Fighter - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A small planet- ship- or orbital- based hybrid air- and space-craft, usually short- to very short range and armed with lasers and automatic cannon. Crew may include one or two bionts and several dedicated ai, or the whole vessel may be ai controlled. Propulsion is via jet or nanobank turbine for dense or slow atmospheric flight, ramjet or scramjet for hypersonic flight, and chemical, fusion or amat rocket for vacuum propulsion.
Hoverplate - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Hoverplates are large nanomanufactured plates in which one side is coated with a dense fur of aerodynamic nanites, each equipped with a microscopic propeller. When activated they start up a ciliary motion that generates an upward or sideward thrust, enabling quite a large vehicle (an aircar or a VTOL aircraft) to hover within an atmosphere
Wingpack - Text by Todd Drashner Personal transportation device. Uses a combination of nanotube construction and nanotech effector systems to duplicate the structure and capabilities of a bird's wings in a device that can be worn by a standard adult baseline/nearbaseline like a backpack harness. Wingpacks typically employ interlocking 'feathers' of woven nanotube sheets and telescoping diamondoid rods to enable them to fold to very small size (generally 1/10m on a side) when not in use. A standard Wingpack is capable of operating for several hours in a standard Earth level gravity field or equivalent.