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BiPod Flying Car Makes (Short) Test Flights

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the enjoy-your-lawsuit-from-apple-over-the-name dept.

Transportation 83

Zothecula writes "The team at Scaled Composites pulled out all the stops to realize the final design of the company's founder and former CTO, Burt Rutan, ahead of his retirement in April earlier this year. In just four months, the Scaled Composites team went from beginning the preliminary design to the first flight of the 'BiPod,' a hybrid gasoline-electric flying car that grew out of a program to develop a rapid, low-cost electric test bed using as many off-the-shelf components as possible."

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Not a flying car (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820198)

Needs a runway to take off...

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820230)

More of a drivable airplane. But something is better than nothing i suppose.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820258)

No way, not good enough. That's a plane. A tandem fuselage plane. Might as well take your Cessna down the highway and call it a car.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822498)

Yup.. check option two in the form

You’re “flying car” is really:

1) A car that can kinda fly by adding some extra parts
(2) A plane that can kinda drive by removing some extra parts

Re:Not a flying car (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826382)

I think a helicopter is the closet we are to an actual flying car. It is used like a car by the rich. It can take off and land from a personal residense with a large enough square of concrete. So far its the only flying vehicle that you can use to go from you home to Walmart and back.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 3 years ago | (#36866572)

So far its the only flying vehicle that you can use to go from you home to Walmart and back.

Except for the fact that it would be extremely illegal and you will be fined and could lose your pilot's license.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826560)

* your ... oh man.. that's bad :(

Re:Not a flying car (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820344)

Yea, this is just a shitty light aircraft, nothing more.

This is an example of someone spending millions of dollars ... when they should have bought him a 25k ultralight for his retirement since it would have been far closer to the goal I think.

It may be 'road' able in that it will 'roll down the road', but just looking at it, it clearly wouldn't survive more than very very basic trips on any public road. I'm sure it has no suspension system, so the ride on the ground would likely rattle the aircraft parts so bad I'd be afraid to fly it without re-certifying the airframe every 20 or 30 yards of road travel.

I wouldn't want to be in it in a crash on the road (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36821144)

especially at 70mph. It its typical light aircraft construction it'll come off worse in a collision with a rickshaw, never mind a 2 ton 4x4.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

dasherjan (1485895) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821664)

Not only that but it looks like it would be a menace to other drivers.

Re:Not a flying car (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36822330)

Buying Burt Rutan an ultralight for his retirement? I can think of a few other retirement gifts that make that much sense.

Let's get Steve Jobs a phone that can do internet and maybe a nice turtleneck.

We'll buy Woz a book on electronics.

We'll get Donald Knuth a book on algorithms and some typesetting software.

And Linus can have a textbook on OS development.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36823532)

Obviously the grandparent poster doesn't have a clue who Burt Rutan is, but do you have to rub it in?

Then again, I think in this case probably you do. Not much more needs to be said about Rutan, other than simply Google his name and find out what the heck he has done if you are clueless about the guy. Be prepared to drop your jaw.

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820424)

this very good.xzq

Re:Not a flying car (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820680)

I don't think it's quite how the definition works. Maybe not a flying car because it's not a frigging car would be better.

Just a light plane with detachable wings.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Woek (161635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820786)

It will be road-legal, with powered wheels, safe to drive on a highway. That's what sets it apart from a light plane

Re:Not a flying car (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36821048)

Aircraft have to be light to fly. Ground vehicles carry extra weight to handle impact by other vehicles. I'd like to see how they are going to incorporate bumpers, crumple zones, airbags, side impact protection, etc that make a vehicle safe on the road. Any vehicle light enough to be used as an aircraft would be weak enough to get a one star crash rating. I would like to see what would happen to a BiPod if it was hit head on by a Suburban doing 60 miles an hour.

In fact the more I look at the vehicle the more I think that it will never be a real product. There are certain minimum safety standards for vehicles driven on the road. One main one is bumpers. I see no bumpers on this vehicle. I doubt very much if it would pass any DoT standards as a legal road vehicle. I looked at the company web site, http://www.scaled.com/projects/bipod [scaled.com] , and noticed a couple of things. First BiPod is a test bed not a prototype. Second they use the term "roadable" and not "street legal". "Roadable" just means that it is able to drive on a read not that it can legally drive on a highway with other vehicles as "street legal" implies.

Another point that seems to be missed is that the propellers have not even been fitted to the BiPod. The "flights" are accomplished by driving the aircraft down the runway using the rear wheels for propulsion, lifting off and gliding back to the ground. At this point it is not a flying car; at best it is a gliding car. Talk to me when you can fly further than the Wright Flier [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36821546)

I call BS. I saw a Jumbo Jet and it looked heavier than my Mini. Planes can be heavier!

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36823670)

Jumbo jets also have engines with enough thrust that they can push more than several locomotives and can usually carry enough fuel that if there were enough oxygen they could make it to orbit. The analogy to your little mini isn't going to cut it unless you have somehow turbo-charged the engine in that vehicle and added wings the size of a soccer field.

Even then, those "jumbo jets" are incredibly light compared to the engine thrust and size. Just because they are big doesn't mean that each pound of weight in their design isn't considered. I completely agree with the GP post as airplanes need to be very much concerned about weight issues. This isn't something you can ignore and is a fundamental issue with flight in general.

Most automobile engines are too heavy to be used for flight... and yes I've seen the airplanes made from used trucks or cars. They are also relying heavily upon the "ground effect" for lift as well and can't get more than a hundred feet or so off the ground. That isn't real flight.

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36822460)

Aircraft have to be light to fly.

Correct. Materials that are light and strong are expensive. That's why a typical light airplane costs 10 times what a typical sedan costs.

Ground vehicles carry extra weight to handle impact by other vehicles.

Incorrect. Ground vehicles weigh more because materials that are light and strong are too expensive to build cars from. There are few people who can afford a $250,000 car. That's why cars are built from steel and iron and aircraft are built from aluminum, titanium and composites.

There are many expensive high-end sports cars made from aluminum, titanium and composites for performance reasons, and they have no trouble meeting safety regulations.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826010)

Aircraft have to be light to fly.

Correct. Materials that are light and strong are expensive. That's why a typical light airplane costs 10 times what a typical sedan costs.

Ground vehicles carry extra weight to handle impact by other vehicles.

Incorrect. Ground vehicles weigh more because materials that are light and strong are too expensive to build cars from. There are few people who can afford a $250,000 car. That's why cars are built from steel and iron and aircraft are built from aluminum, titanium and composites.

There are many expensive high-end sports cars made from aluminum, titanium and composites for performance reasons, and they have no trouble meeting safety regulations.

indeed, the Smart proved that a car can be light and still get a 5 star crash rating.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 2 years ago | (#36823384)

Motorcycles do not have bumpers and do really poorly being hit head on by a Suburban at 60 MPH. (And in reality few autos with bumpers, air bags, crush zones, etc will do really well hitting a Suburban at that speed).

Perhaps you don't recall that cars didn't have all this safety equipment as recently as 30 years ago. The reason that early imports got great fuel economy was that they were really light-the original Honda Civic was powered by the 750cc motorcycle engine and could not likely pass any modern crash test. It was hardly more than a 2 seat motorcycle in a box!

So making this "street legal' would just involve changing the definition of "street legal" for special case vehicles like this. Maybe rate them as experimental as some of the home-built airplanes are rated by the FAA,

Re:Not a flying car (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#36824062)

Motorcycles are more or less grandfathered in at this point. They would never get approval if they were invented today.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826920)

I honestly think that Automobiles would not get approval if they were invented today.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#36832944)

Hey I have a business proposition for you. I have invented a new piece of technology.

- It's a vehicle of sorts to carry people.
- It is going to require massive amounts of initial outlay from the government. They will need to dedicate entire departments to maintaining the very roads these vehicles will run on.
- It will be very simple to use so almost everyone can have one.
- It will allow people to travel at high speed in opposite directions only 3m apart from each other with no safety barrier between them.
- An entire department will need to be created to ensure a vehicle driver is capable of operating that vehicle.
- Infrastructure will need to be built everywhere to let people know when they are allowed to move their vehicle and when they need to come to a halt.
- The users of these vehicles will suffer the worst mortality rates in the country and it will be one of the largest contributors towards death in the population both for the vehicle and for the bystanders.
- The vehicle will be noisy and lower the property values where large number of vehicles travel.
- Best of all it will run on an unstable chemical made of hydrogen and carbon atoms which is capable of exploding when in contact with fire and each vehicle will need to carry about 50L of it.

What do you say?

The automobile simply couldn't be invented today. Just as alcohol would not be legal if it were invented today. At least aircrafts have excellent safety records and require only terminals to service an entire city .... thanks to the automobile of course.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36823640)

A flying car doesn't drive on roads period. A flying car should do vertical liftoffs from your driveway and do vertical landings in the parking lot. And it should be cheap. Like under $40k cheap. Anything else is an airplane.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#36832954)

A flying car doesn't drive on roads period. A flying car should do vertical liftoffs from your driveway and do vertical landings in the parking lot. And it should be cheap. Like under $40k cheap. Anything else is an airplane.

I don't think you quite understand what those words mean:

car - automobile - a road vehicle
airplane - powered flying vehicle

A VTOL plane is still a plane, and a vehicle which isn't allowed to drive on the roads sure as hell isn't a car.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 3 years ago | (#36835318)

A flying car is not a car that also flies. A flying car is a replacement for the car that flies. The same idea was used for the horseless carriage. The horseless carriage was a replacement for the horse and buggy that didn't use a horse. Trains and boats existed before the invention of the automobile. They didn't use horses and they transported people around. But they were not a replacement for the horse and buggy. A flying car that drives around on roads misses the entire point. To be a replacement for an automobile it must be cheap. It must provide for a persons day to day travel.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#36825766)

I would like to see what would happen to a BiPod if it was hit head on by a Suburban doing 60 miles an hour.

And.... I would like to see what happens to a Suburban when it takes a BiPod through the windshield at 200+mph.

I don't think any car-plane hybrid is intended to be a rush-hour commuter on the local freeway. Certainly, if I had one, it's road capabilities would just be to allow me to hangar it at home or wherever I am staying away from home, instead of needing to tie-down at the airport. In urban destinations, you'd probably still tie down at the airport and rent a car.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 years ago | (#36833012)

I one is hangering the vehicle at home then it means that the vehicle will be driving on roads with other vehicles. A 60mph head on collision is possible if both vehicles are moving at 30 mph in opposite directions; a situation on many residential streets.

If a BiPod is flying at 200+mph it is illegal and unsafe to be 4 feet from the ground.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 3 years ago | (#36833942)

Head on collisions are also illegal and unsafe, whereas travel by motorcycle (or bicycle) on roads with cars is legal, unsafe, and far less versatile than a flying vehicle.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 years ago | (#36837304)

Head on collisions are not illegal in that, unless deliberate, they are considered accidents. Your example if a 200+MPH BiPod striking a Suburban is irrelevant as it is illegal for a BiPod pilot to put the vehicle in that situation. The issue is safety standards. The safety standards for four wheeled vehicles are different than motorcycles (or bicycles). For example, seat belts are not required on a motorcycle yet they are required on a four wheeled vehicles.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 3 years ago | (#36837448)

Setting a safety standard on aircraft has not yet managed to keep them all from falling out of the sky.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 years ago | (#36839310)

Safety standards do not prevent accidents. They exist so that when an accident occurs injury and death are minimized. Not I said minimized and not eliminated.

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36821662)

Yeah, a highway.

Re:Not a flying car (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821760)

One has nothing to do with the other. The fact you think it does is extremely weird.

With your completely insane and illogical definition, many helicopters are not helicopters. Yes, that's right, when many helicopters are fully loaded, operate at high altitude, or operate in hot/humid environments,they too require a runway for take off. Here is a training video so you can see what it looks like. [youtube.com] Hmmm. Very airplane-like. So its settled - helicopters are no longer helicopters. That's for enlightening us.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822074)

Nice troll moderation.

Classic example of how trolls have completely ruined slashdot.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821852)

That means its not a helicopter car.

Derp.

Re:Not a flying car (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822092)

"Derp", is right. The fact this isn't obvious is pretty sad.

Translation for others like you who have learning disabilities. The need for a runway has nothing to do with anything. Wow, that sounds like I've heard it before. Perhaps you have a reading comprehension issues too.

Holy shit slashdot has fallen.

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36822414)

Yes, this is not a flying car, it is a roadable aircraft.

That is a huge difference as this is nothing more than a normal air-plane with one added feature: the ability to clumsily drive on roads.

Re:Not a flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36827588)

Note they did not call it a flying car, but rather a "roadable aircraft". Big difference.

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820212)

"That's nice, now where's my jetpack?" comments coming.

Re:Prediction (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820712)

Funny, I was more thinking: First DNF, then GNU Hurd, ... of course we'd get a flying car today!

Re:Prediction (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821342)

The announcement that DNF was going to be released caused mass panic. The Debian Hurd team assembled on an emergency meeting, the devil begin to order truckloads of dry ice, suddenly wings began to appear on cars and pigs. Only Apple got lucky and the panic didn't get to them. Thankfully, they started using Intel CPUs a long long time ago.

apple lawsuit (3, Funny)

cdxta (1170917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820214)

apple lawsuit over name in 3...2...?

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820254)

Not to mention all the lawsuits bought by those not properly diagnosed with subluxation prior to their first flight/drive.bought

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36821038)

I looked up subluxation and this is scary stuff:

"If you wait until your body sends out pain or other clear signals, it may too late. You need to stop subluxations before they have a chance to do major damage and before they become difficult to correct. You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life."

I haven't had an adjustment since I had my neck wrenched around as a small child. Not fun and didn't fix anything.

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36821112)

I've heard this before...

You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life. - practitioner alternative of medicine.

Not fun and didn't fix anything. - you, me and qualified medical professionals.

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826258)

I looked up subluxation and this is scary stuff:

"If you wait until your body sends out pain or other clear signals, it may too late. You need to stop subluxations before they have a chance to do major damage and before they become difficult to correct. You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life."

I haven't had an adjustment since I had my neck wrenched around as a small child. Not fun and didn't fix anything.

Wow what a coincidence. I looked up Quackery. "Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices."

Re:apple lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820508)

Do they acually have a patent for "overpriced, white shit with no features"?

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821536)

Well I'm pretty sure you can't patent a person, so Amy Winehouse is safe.

Re:apple lawsuit (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820576)

I doubt it. The term 'bipod' has been in use for over a century, as a 2 legged mount for a rifle or light machine gun.

Re:apple lawsuit (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36824094)

I thought it was a sexually confused mp3 player...

Congratulations! (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820308)

* Your invention requires pilots to attach the wings themselves every time they want to fly, which must require the help of a friend or two,
* Your plane shuts the pilot in a separate compartment from the only passenger seat,
* They have to trade seats when the pilot wants to switch from flying to driving (or vice versa),
* The passenger has no ability to take the controls in an emergency,
* It looks odd in the air and downright silly on the road,
* And you picked a gimmicky pop-culture-based name that will piss off a major corporation!

You must be an engineer! Welcome to Slashdot!

Re:Congratulations! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36821170)

I'm sorry, WHAT? So now even here on Slashdot, we have become such incredibly, mind-boggling total losers, that we not only think it's acceptable, that a company can utterly destroy you on the grounds of you choosing a word that vaguely contains the same n-letter combinations as some of their shit products, but assume and expect it??
WHAT. THE. FUCK??

I'm sorry, but please hand in your "Individual" card, as you clearly are the most passive, spineless cattle, I have ever seen.

Amazing and shocking...

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36842622)

Seems like there were more cattle. This time with mod points.
I miss the times, when Slashdot wasn't full of ex-AOL retard cattle.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821908)

Congratulations for pointing out the obvious. Certainly these things could never have occurred to the designers without your aid! You can now rest assured that you've set them on the right path. They will surely drop everything now and start from scratch, in large part due to the astute observations of slashdotters such as yourself.

Alternatively you missed the part of TFS where they pointed out that this was a test platform.

I'll let you use your awesome observational and deductive skills to determine which is more likely.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822124)

This is slashdot. He must state the obvious so it allows him to feel smart. Life likely reminds him to the contrary on a daily basis.

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36826866)

Wow, who put all the sand in YOUR vaseline this morning? What a grump!

Re:Congratulations! (1)

Lando (9348) | more than 2 years ago | (#36826098)

Yeah, probably a bad idea to have your enemy help attach the wings, grin.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36827826)

Your plane shuts the pilot in a separate compartment from the only passenger seat,

This is a plus! I wish my car had this feature.

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36830386)

I bet with a very small effort, both the road and flight controls could be converted to "by-wire" systems which could be made available in both left and right seats.

Also, I expect the wing attachment process could very well be made easy enough for one-man operation.

Your ridiculing of a "prototype" shows that you have missed the point.

Why didn't BLACKS build this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820310)

How surprising to see that the people behind it were all white...

But come on, tell me how "we're all the same" (TM) and blacks are just as intelligent as whites, and 'diversity is our strength'.

Your country is being destroyed by third worlders, and you idiots are actually defending it.

Re:Why didn't BLACKS build this? (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820358)

You could leave, and then us idiots wouldn't have to continue defending morons such as yourself.

Our problem, is that we attempt to allow people to have their own opinion, even when thats clearly a bad idea. We could easily solve our problem by terminating anyone who makes idiotic statements. Unfortunately for you, that means you'd be shot fairly early on.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Roadable Aircraft, not flying car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820336)

From the article:

The Model 367 BiPod is a two-seat, hybrid-electric roadable aircraft.

It's not a goddamn flying fucking car, Soulskill.

Re:Roadable Aircraft, not flying car. (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820920)

It's as much a car as a motorbike is a car. It just isn't.

Re:Roadable Aircraft, not flying car. (1)

davecombs (773461) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822400)

Did you actually read the rest of the article? It said, in the sentence *immediately following the one you quote*:

"Originally conceived as a rapid, low-cost electric testbed, the effort evolved into a flying car."

Whether it IS a flying car or not (personally, I don't think so), the article at least does make the claim.

Company Motto (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820404)

Company Motto: "FEEL the stability of a BiPod!"

naming problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820436)

How could not one single person involved in the entire project know that a "bipod" already exists. As almost all of you know, it's like a tripod but only 2 legged and you attach it to a gun, typically a sniper rifle, to stabilize it and raise it up to eye level without the use of your hand to brace the barrel. You can't just go using the word for something else, especially when there are SO MANY BETTER NAMES!

ffs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820818)

Why does everyone jump on that thing to diss it? It's not a commercial project, it's a technology test bed. It can't be overpriced, because it won't be sold. It won't go on the roads. It's a cool project from a guy who had the means to kick it off before retiring. What the hell is wrong with you all, thought this was a geek site. Building a convertible road/flying machine in whatever form is as geeky a project as you can get...

Re:ffs (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821942)

We see it here all the time. It's a subtle manifestation of envy, for none of the detractors have taken the initiative to do it themselves. When you can't do something cool, the next best thing is to cut down those who can.

Next: (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820878)

The Human CentBiPod!!

Some interesting ideas (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820916)

I actually read one of the links (I know, I know...) and saw some (to my non-professional engineer eyes) great or at least interesting ideas.

Like having the "left seat" have flying controls and the "right seat" have the driving controls. Sure, as other posters pointed out, you can't take over in an emergency but I would imagine (since I don't fly a plane) it must make the controls a lot easier to design and use. I wonder why they didn't put the driving controls on the left side since I presume they would use it in the USA not say Britain? Of course you don't need separate enclosed cabins to use this idea.

I'm impressed that hybrid technology is advanced enough that you could carry the additional equipment without a crippling weight penalty. That of course allowed them to do all sorts of interesting things like decoupling the gas engines from the electric motors allowing them to be placed wherever it is best and splitting the gas engines up for redundancy. Having presumably small lightweight electric motors in the wheels takes care of a lot of power train issues I guess. Also having lithium battery assisted takeoff is good for keeping the engines smaller because they don't have to provide brief spikes in power. I wonder if the plane can generate power as it descends (like an aerial version of regenerative breaking)? Can it charge the batteries on a windy day on the ground?

From what I saw in my cursory skimming of the article, the wings are detached before the "car" goes on the road. I guess they didn't really try to optimize the design because this is just a test vehicle (and they designed and built it in a very short amount of time! 4 months!) but I imagine that as long as you're going to leave part of the gear at the airport, why not leave the rear airfoils and electric propeller? That's another benefit from the hybrid design, no mechanical coupling to the propeller, just a power cable.

Anyway even if the overall project doesn't really "take off" (bada bish!) some of these ideas seem very interesting! I wonder if high temperature super conductors could really make this idea "go"!

Crackpot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820918)

Theres a dude in the UK that has been trying to get a flying car to market.
Its about £300,000 to buy and will probably kill you stone dead within 20 seconds!
Looks cool but also looks very dangerous.

Chris

In USA, you need flying Humvee! (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821694)

I think the big problem is that in the USA, you will need to build flying Humvees to get this idea accepted. Anything smaller will be seen as an insult to American integrity, and not safe on the roads (because everybody else believes you need a 4x4 offroad capable 8 litre vehicle to buy a pint of milk from the local shops).

Apart from the fact that the two concepts (car, plane) just don't work together that well really. A bit of a laugh for folk with more money than sense to try to develop, but until we get some sort of Bladerunner anti-grav lifting and propulsion devices, just not practicable. Next up, the submarine that turns into a plane!

Re:In USA, you need flying Humvee! (2)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 2 years ago | (#36825620)

I think the big problem is that in the USA, you will need to build flying Humvees to get this idea accepted. Anything smaller will be seen as an insult to American integrity, and not safe on the roads

Way ahead of you: DARPA's Flying humvee [wired.com]

It's not a flying car (2)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822512)

I wish journalists would learn the difference between a flying car and a street-legal airplane.

Re:It's not a flying car (1)

Geminii (954348) | about 3 years ago | (#36857914)

"Street-legal airplane" doesn't sell papers or be online Googlebait for zillions of cybertards lookin' fer flyin' carz.

Hybrid version of another "flying car" (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822558)

This sounds like a similar concept to the Terrafugia Transition, which is also advertised as a "roadable aircraft." The Transition has made a few appearances on Slashdot in the past. Apparently the Transition uses a CVT to transmit internal combustion engine power to the wheels, so it's not a hybrid like Rutan's one in TFA.

Terrafugia's homepage at www.terrafugia.com

Lando? (1)

plsenjy (2104800) | more than 2 years ago | (#36822820)

Re:Lando? (1)

jhsiao (525216) | more than 2 years ago | (#36824194)

The only color option is copper orange.

flying car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36825954)

A flying car! We put wheels under a plane! Oh wait...

Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36826364)

Daily Rutan worked on the shop floor with a team of fabricators

Who is Daily Rutan? ... Oh... You mean: Daily, Rutan worked on the shop floor with a team of fabricators...

Distributed Hybrid Electric Propulsion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36831590)

This is actually pretty big since this is a big endorsement for both distributed propulsion and hybrid electric propulsion in aircraft (they mention this was started as a STOL test mule before they decided to do the roadbable aircraft thing), and it doesn't use a superconducting generator/motor/cables. Would have been more interesting to see the entire wing lined with electric ducted fans though, which is the usual endgame for distributed propulsion mounted on wings (and a propulsor right in the tail to fill in the drag hole created by the fuselage).

Power densities for electric motors have gone up a lot in the last 5 years due to DARPA UAV research, so this is probably just the beginning. Launchpoint is claiming over 8KW/Kg energy density, for a fist sized Halbach array axial flux permanent magnet motor.

http://www.launchpnt.com/portfolio/transportation/halbach-electric-motor/

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