18 July 2011

Burt Rutan's BiPod Roadable Aircraft

Images via AviationWeek
Just as Terrafugia's roadable aircraft is receiving government approval for driving on the highway, Burt Rutan is experimenting with a twin-cockpit version of his own roadable aircraft: the BiPod.
The Model 367 BiPod is a two-seat, hybrid-electric roadable aircraft. Originally conceived as a rapid, low-cost electric testbed, the effort evolved into a flying car and was accelerated to allow Rutan, a long-time advocate of personal electric aircraft, to see the vehicle completed before his retirement.

The BiPod was brought from preliminary design to its first flight on 30 March 2011 in just four months. So far, the aircraft has made several short hops along the main runway at Mojave, California, each time propelled briefly into the air by building up speed using the battery-powered driving wheels. The electric-powered propellers are not yet installed. _AviationWeek

These views are images of what the roadable aircraft is likely to look like at a more advanced stage of development. You can see the engine placement most clearly in the image below.
The photographs are from an exclusive provided to Aviation Week magazine by Scaled Composites, Rutan's company.

Roadable aircraft are likely to be popular with multiple groups of people, from small business owners and salespersons who need to travel medium distances regularly for work, to ordinarily affluent persons who want a quicker and more trouble-free way to get to the beach or lake cabin, to longer-distance commuters, to the status seeker and early adopter who just wants another notch on his belt. And don't forget the survival advantages of being able to get out of a dying city when all the freeways and suface streets are gridlocked.

An EU attempt to clear up city streets and take commuting to the sky is called the myCopter. The US Defense Department's DARPA is also trying to get into the roadable flyer market, on a different level.

Once one roadable aircraft has succeeded, expect many more to try to push into the market. And how long before a Chinese flying car hits the virtual skies? Stay safe up there.

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4 Comments:

Blogger PRCalDude said...

Burt Rutan is the man. If anyone can do this, it's him.

Monday, 18 July, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes. And he will do it in a way all his own.

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Oh, snap! So not only do I need to avoid drivers texting intead of looking at the road, I'll have to avoid flyers texting and not looking out the windows, running into each other, and crashing on the road.

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011  
Blogger PRCalDude said...

Say it with me, SwampWoman: "RADAR."

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011  

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