PAL-V commercially available flying car

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/21/pal-v-commercially-available-flying-car.html

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Why the hell a triangular setup, with the point forward? Two wheels forward and one back is inherently stable when maneuvering, one forward and two back is inherently unstable, especially when turning sharply. Anyone who has tooled around on a 3-wheeler ATV surely has experienced this ^^’ .

The Dymaxion Car was a flop, overall, but it showed this very well. With front-wheel steering, it would be quite effective.

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One thing about a gyrocopter not explicitly stated in the video is that, unlike a helicopter, it cannot hover. Forward speed is required to keep the rotor spinning. It’s actually much more like a fixed wing aircraft then a helicopter.

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Now all they need is a AAA style roadside assistance service, and it’ll be ready for the masses!

These efforts will always result in one thing: a crappy car that’s also a crappy aircraft. The only advantage to combining the two is that you can drive your crappy car to an airfield, take off and land at another (but probably one that’s not too far away, as I can’t imagine the range is great), and you can then drive your crappy car away from that airfield. I imagine most people with pilot’s licenses who can afford to own (and maintain) an aircraft can also afford to hire a car at one end of that trip. The number of people for whom this is actually useful seems vanishingly small.

Also, that it was deemed roadworthy in Europe doesn’t mean it ever would be in the US, for instance. Given that light, efficient cars end up being substantially heavier and less efficient when made road-worthy in the US, thanks to more robust crash safety regulations, this seems like it would be a non-starter here.

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It’s been tried before. One reason for failure, according to the video, was price. It would cost $200k today. And for this new one they want $600k…

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And the standard illustration for this is:

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Enthusiastically endorsed by John Denver!
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It’s always gratifying to see that no matter what trouble or difficulties the world may be experiencing, the quality and quantity of amazing toys for the very rich continues to improve.

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I supposed it’s already been predicted but IMHO piloted flying cars will never be feasible anywhere but in the wildest outback. Because people fuck up. Even pilot-less flyabouts, controlled either by on-board AIs or a centralized system, will be hacked and crashed.

“Come away with me, Lucille
In my merry AirMobile ®
Through the sunny skies we’ll fly
Impacting hillsides, you and I…”

Sure, I’d buy that for a dollar! /s

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Heh; I’d forgotten about that episode, thanks.

I WILL BRING BACK AUTOGYRO JOUSTING

autogyro_joust_bruce_mccall

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Airplanes and autogyros typically land rear wheels first. If I was going to risk tipping my vehicle over then that would be the absolute worst time to do it.

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I believe it has implications for take off and landing, and probably flight as well. That layout is pretty normal when sticking wheels on flying machines. And it’s an autogyro, which means it takes off and flies much like an airplane.

The probably accounting for most of the weight engine is also in the back.

The video explains a bit of that, but doesn’t go into much detail. That’s the standard layout for autogyros, to the point where you don’t really see anything else. From what understand of it there are, um, falling out of the sky reasons we’ve settled on that format.

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Dual front and one trailing tail wheel is quite common for relatively small aircraft.

For landing gear alone, sure, I have little issue with either a “conventional” or tricycle arrangement, as appropriate for whatever design/use case. But we’re talking about an automobile, as well, and that tricycle is just plain stupid; you’re really gonna regret rolling your $600K vehicle ^^’ .

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That isn’t dual front and one trailing wheel. That’s dual front and tail dragging. The wheel back there is basically a caster, and in the past was often a skid. This is done in part because two wheels weigh less than three.

You’re not really driving on that. And the planes (cause it’s almost always planes) that do it that way do this for specific reasons. From your own link:

The resulting angle of the aircraft fuselage, when fitted with conventional gear, allows the use of a long propeller that compensates for older, underpowered engine design. The increased clearance of the forward fuselage offered by tail wheel-type landing gear is also advantageous when operating in and out of non-paved runways. Today, aircraft are manufactured with conventional gear for this reason and for the weight savings accompanying the relatively light tail wheel assembly.

It requires those planes to land front first, it’s fairly well contingent on a front engine, front prop design. And involves the fuselage being heavily raked on the ground in a way that isn’t compatible with driving.

It also hasn’t been common in small craft since the 50’s since they’re really unstable during take off and landing in a cross wind. The single most manufactured aircraft in history, and the most successful small craft is a replacement for a tail dragging model. Originally intended to just fix that whole tail dragging thing by moving to a tricycle layout.

The Cessna 172 is still in production 65 years later. It’s tail dragging predecessor is long gone. And they’re known to be a bit dangerous particularly in weather.

Actual full on 2 wheels in the front one in the back is fairly uncommon, particularly when the engine and most of the weight are in the back.

Also I apologize for turning into my dad. I have absolutely no clue why I know this much about aircraft.

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Have you ever noticed how planes with conventional gear sit very nose-high, and generally have very poor forward visibility when on the ground? Not ideal for something meant to be used as a road vehicle. Plus the reasons that the other folks pointed out.

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image

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I’m looking forward to some interesting air rage compilation videos on YouTube.

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Such a ridiculous pursuit. It’s a fun hypothetical exercise, but there are uncountable reasons why it won’t work in the real world. Not the least of which is the Federal Aviation Administration’s unofficial motto: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”
Unless all cars are flying cars, no cars will be flying cars.

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