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15 comments

Street-legal Airplanes?

Posted June 27, 2009 7:54 AM

Initial flight tests are finished for the first "flying car." Billed as an airplane you can drive, as opposed to a car you can fly, the Terrafugia Transition features wings that fold with a push of the button. Is this the future of personal transportation?

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#1

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 11:51 AM

I hope not. Collisions on the ground are bad enough. We don't need them to happen in the air.

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#2

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 12:00 PM

In one of the flight videos you can see they had to overcome a design flaw. Apparently they failed to put in a locking mechanism for the steering wheel in flight... their engineering solution was a bungee cord.

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/29/2009 10:52 AM

I saw that bungee and began to wonder...

They have a stick for directional flight control and a steering wheel for ground handling. At what point do they transition from one to the other? I can see the landing checklist now:

"Immediately on touchdown undo bungee and maintain directional control with steering wheel, while maintaining pitch control with stick."

And how many hands do I need to accomplish this????????????

Sounds tougher than hovering a helicopter.

Hooker

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#3

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 1:42 PM

Well for me, I've always loved the idea of flying cars, since I was a kid.. then seeing the concept vehicles in Popular Sci & Mech for years, et al.. was inspiring. I'm sure that there would be a great deal of reformed thinking and road planning that would have to occur to permit their operation, but who doesn't want to pass slow traffic by flying over it? Let's not forget escaping the police speed traps. ("But officer, I was accelerating to take off speed!)

Perhaps no takeoffs would be allowed on the roadways themselves, but what about alternatives, similar to roadside rest stops, but have a paved runway instead as a separate lane, in designated areas, and have some local tower to assist in the traffic control. Maybe every community and neighborhood would simply have to have a similar runway installed. The rules would be that you have to stay inside a designated corridor, and your flight plans all filed preflight...etc.. I'm sure we can find ways to handle the technology, if we apply our minds to the problems.

I think the real question is the level of control to apply. Birds don't use centralized control, but then they are also slow relative velocity, and can survive collisions. I think it would be very challenging for us to do without centralized control systems, (radar, gps, etc) but we should also think of everything. nature knows the most about flight. we should not ignore it.

I have a conceptual flying car/float plane scheme I am working on myself

Chris

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#9
In reply to #3

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/29/2009 10:47 AM

"Birds don't use centralized control, but then they are also slow relative velocity, and can survive collisions."

Har!! They need ATC into/out of my bird feeder. Awhile back, I saw a horrendous head-on collision between 2 Chickadees, one inbound and one outbound. Somehow they both recovered before hitting the ground. Tough little missiles, they are.

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#14
In reply to #3

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

07/25/2009 9:32 PM

Flying Cars, or Airplanes that can be driven on roads have been around another since at least the 1940s. In all cases so far, they are neither good airplanes, or good cars.

Let us look at what a really practical car airplane parameters ought to be.

It must fly, and carry a minimum of 4 people, at between 500 to 2,000 Actual Ground Level.

Due to Mountains from East to West in the US a Service Ceiling of 12,000 feet Mean Sea Level is pretty much needed out of an airplane if you want to go in straight lines over mountains.

North and South you've got up until West Palm Beach on the East Coast significant weather problems calling for ground travel when there is no way around the weather.

There are jet planes now that are dependent on computers to fly with any stability since they have no inherent stability.

What we really want is a flying car that has no different a footprint of size physically than a Ford Escalade, on the highway, at the same price, with no requirement that it land at an airport, and then fold its wings.

Design me a car that will fly to 12 thousand feet MSL on 5 gallons an hour at 120 knots minimum. Design it so it is a flying body, and does not require wing folding, and will make 65 miles per hour on the ground.

Make it so it will not cost more than the most common of expensive cars, and can be made in editions of 200,000, for that price, bungee cords extra of course, and maybe it will fly.

Otherwise the recommendations are, get a Cessna 172, and leave some cars around where you commonly go, or call a taxi when you land.

Check with Edignan on some of this. P.S. I think a 172 burns about 7 gallons an hour, but I am not sure. It would be fun for Anonymous Hero to weigh in on whatever he thinks about flying cars these days. I saw a picture and write up about some French thing a few months ago.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

08/05/2009 11:44 PM

As a current A&P Mechanic it sounds good but I know also that the state of Pa will not allow this on our streets if cost where lower and demand higher then NASA would have a hand in it's development for the everyday driver the new sport class is recking havoc for everyday pilots most of them encroach on class A space also with a cost of $194000 a brand new c172 is only @ $184000 and proven the best in class since 1952 and still going an extended range 150 even could be a less expense I can even buy an older 172 for $23000 used and rent a car at my destination. So buying into the air-car or car-air at this time in this economy is a dumb idea for us working folk but a richmans playtoy maybe if he had not even a clue. my pro-opinion not safe for air or ground.

and as for takeing off form the street. people do it all the time our highway system was even designed as emergency landing strips

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#4

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 2:04 PM

What a great way to eliminate road use taxes.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 2:37 PM

Who ever told you that there would be NO "ROAD FLY TAXES"?

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#6

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 3:25 PM

I am waiting to see someone try to set one down on I-95 anywhere between Boston MA and Richmond, VA. Or I could settle for I-10 anywhere West of San Bernardino, CA

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#7

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/28/2009 6:45 PM

HA! The State Troopers are requesting BD-5's. It's a great idea, but they, "Air traffic Controller's" can't keep up with the current situation. Lord help us, if there any more budget cuts. S**t, people can't even keep from hitting each other. And Rush Hour in L.A. Avation already has a black eye, and what would it be like with more people flying around and trying to text at the same time? Just a thought. And with that I'm also working on my own design for a personal craft.

Just don't fly "low and slow".....

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#8

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/29/2009 5:53 AM

And will it be an energy-efficient vehicle?...

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#11

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

06/30/2009 9:24 AM

Please...........I think that allot of those people are X NASA employees.

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#12

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

07/08/2009 11:42 PM

Presently at least car has to go on the available roads (only). With flying, there will not be any restricting path (called road), generating more and more accidents and pedestrians will have to look for any thing falling on the head from the skies.

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#13

Re: Street-legal Airplanes?

07/25/2009 8:07 PM

"Street-legal Airplanes?"?

A wrong (i.e., inappropriate...even irrelevant) question, I should think.

Better...."Air-legal automobiles?"...which is really what the topic provocateur (OP) is trying to ask. Thus stated, the problem (such as it is) is cast in a more sensible light; and the solution (more likely "No" than "Yes,") remains the less arguable.

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