Rutan Reveals the BiPod
DURING A “HOMEBUILDERS CHAT” AT AIRVENTURE 2011, Burt Rutan
revealed details of his last project for Scaled Composites, the BiPod,
which was announced before Oshkosh. The twin-fuselage, hybrid-electric roadable aircraft features propellers only on the tail, not on the
wings, eliminating the need to unplug the electric connection to move
the wings and stow them between the two fuselages, Rutan said.
Unlike Terrafugia, which transitions from a car to a plane with
the touch of a button, the pilot of the BiPod will have to get out of the
aircraft to stow the wings on brackets underneath the craft. “It was
designed to have a 10-minute, no tools, single-person changeover,”
Phase one testing of the prototype was completed, determining
the BiPod could be driven at 80 mph powered by lithium ion
phosphate batteries, similar to those used in the Toyota Prius.
In flight mode, the BiPod is designed for two 450-cc internal-combustion engines, one in each fuselage, powering generators
supplying electricity to four 15-k W motors producing 20 hp—one
in each pod driving the wheels, and two on the horizontal stabilizer
linking the twin tails, driving the propellers.
The BiPod is flown from the right fuselage, where flight controls
are located, and driven from the left, which houses a steering wheel.
The cockpits are connected through the center wing, which also
holds an 18-gallon fuel tank. The wingspan is 31. 8 feet; in the car
configuration it’s 8 feet wide.
In the air, it is designed to cruise at 197 mph with a range of 530
miles at 12,000 feet in a high-power mode, and up to 760 miles at 100
mph at 8,000 feet. The expected gross weight is 1,430 pounds with
two passengers and fuel.
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DALE KRAMER SHOWCASED AN
electric, amphibious Lazair
at AirVenture 2011 that uses
for flight. On a full charge and
configured as a landplane, two
13-hp electric motors on the
wing deliver 75 minutes of flight
time from its 100 pounds of
lithium-polymer batteries. As
an amphibious floatplane, extra
drag and weight reduces flight
times to around 45 minutes.
AIRVENTURE 2011 WAS THE U.S.
debut for the AutoGyro two-seater Cavalon. This unique
aircraft is impossible to stall and
spin, can take off in 10-70 yards,
and can land similar to the way a
helicopter does. The Cavalon will
be sold as a ready-to-fly aircraft
all over the world, but the U.S.
market will be served initially
with a kit version, as current
ASTM standards for LSA do not
allow for ready-to-fly autogyros.
PIPISTREL TAURUS G4
THE PIPISTREL TAURUS G4, the
first four-seat electric aircraft
in the world, was test flown
in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at
Wittman Regional Airport days
after it appeared at AirVenture
2011. The aircraft was created
by combining two Taurus2e
fuselages, connected by a
5-meter-long spar. A 145-k W
brushless electric motor is
mounted between the passenger
pods and drives a 2-meter
diameter, two-blade propeller in
DEVICES TO AVIONICS
ASPEN AVIONICS ANNOUNCED
“Connected Panel” products at
AirVenture 2011. The products
include hardware, software, and
application components that provide
two-way wireless communication
between panel avionics and personal
smart devices to streamline flight-related data. Initial applications
are in development for Apple iOS
and Android platforms, with the
first application available by the
end of 2011.