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Thread: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

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    Registered User cluttonfred's Avatar
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    Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    OK, while I have seen the old Douglas Rolfe drawings of the de Pischoff Motorcycle of the Air, the video that addicted2climbing posted of some full-scale "models" flying (http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/fo...-machines.html) does get the imagination going.

    Let's take the idea of a "motorcycle of the air" a little further. Let's see...a motorcycle is about the wind in your hair and being at one with the machine, it should be small and maneuverable and have enough power to be exciting, you should be able to keep it at home and not need a hangar. The TEAM Airbike and Aeromax are close but the high wing ruins the riding feel, so no high wings unless outside the field of view (so a high rear wing and forward canard might work).


    • Single-seat, straddling the fuselage, exposed (windscreen, fairings allowed but rear half of torso, legs, etc. must be exposed)
    • Helmet, harness and rollover protection mandatory
    • *Max gross weight 300 kg/661 lb
    • *Max stall speed 65 kph/40 mph/35 knots
    • *60 kW/80 hp max
    • Easy wing folding or removal for trailering and storage
    • **Maximum span 5m/16' 4"
    • **Maximum length 5m/16' 4"
    • ***In flying attitude there should be 180 degrees of unobstructed view in a horizontal line from pilot's shoulders forward and in a vertical line from the back of the pilot's head upwards. Only windscreen, rollover protection and instruments may be in that quarter-sphere field of view.


    *These numbers are deliberately taken from the European microlight regs for a single-seater.
    **These limits are intended to keep the aircraft small and sporty, no long wings.
    ***This is for the motorcycle feel.

    I am not sure about the biomechanics of a motorcycle seating position (head forwards) in a crash, even with a seat harness, so I might be inclined to go with recumbent seating like the TEAM Airbike and Aeromax.

    In terms of engines, i am inclined to suggest an 1835cc VW as a good starting point.

    Thoughts?

    Cheers,

    Matthew
    Last edited by cluttonfred; October 3rd, 2015 at 05:40 AM.
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    Registered User oriol's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    I like the idea but in my view the maximum wingspan (Cri Cri like) is too restrictive.

    It is hard for a low and slow single seater aircraft to consider wingspans smaller than 10 meters, or so, similar to a hanglider, paraglider or a typical Part 103 aircraft.

    There is little choice apart from somehow folding the wings to fit the aircraft in a garage.


    Oriol

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    Registered User cluttonfred's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Thanks for the feedback, oriol, but I am not so sure that I agree. 10m is sailplane territory and the idea was to have racer types here, low-aspect ratio monoplanes or compact biplanes. I could see going to a 6m span, but no more.
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    With that mission, is there any better configuration than a PPG on a trike? Modern innovation could have the parachute mounted on a single telescopic pole and an inflatable main spar, to accomodate easy folding.
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    The design is more fanciful than practical. What works for a inanimate mannequin I don't think will work for a real person. The human body is quite heavy and... that weight is dynamically allocated in loose, floppy pieces. This is tolerable and even useful in motorcycles because weight shifting can assist in control and stability. I'm not sure that is true in aircraft. At least not one that isn't a freewing. Securing a human body to a motorcycle like structure is also tricky, not only for in controlled flight, but (more importantly) in a crash. In motorcycles, the rider is ejected in a crash to dissipate its energy into drag with the ground, hoping not to strike any hard/sharp fixed objects. Not going to happen in a flying motorcycle. The fixed object IS the ground.

    Also the configuration as in the de Pischoff is not very aerodynamically efficient. And once you deviate from that, you very quickly find yourself back to something like... a FRED.

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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Trikes. Violate every one of your criteria, yet are the closest production models to a motorcycle.

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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    I believe you're thinking of an autogyro.

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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Yes, and those enclosed BMW scooters are very practical...and totally uncool. You guys are missing the point. I was not proposing to replicate the DePischoff design and certainly not it's seating position.

    Like I said above, I was thinking more of recumbent style like an Airbike or, if there is a safe way to arrange a safety harness, a crouched, head forward style more like a motorcycle. The homebuilt recumbent motorcycle is pretty close to what I imagine is the best arrangement.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    On the span question, 5m might be a little tight, but I don't think it's is too far off. For comparison, here are the numbers for a Sonerai I:

    SONERAI I SPECIFICATIONS
    SPAN 16 ' 8"
    LENGTH 16' 8"
    HEIGHT 5 '
    ENGINE 1600 - 2180CC
    FUEL CAPACITY - STD. 11 GALLONS
    EMPTY WEIGHT 440 LBS.
    USEFUL LOAD 260 LBS.
    GROSS WEIGHT 700 LBS.
    WING AREA 75 SQ. FT.
    SEATS 1

    SONERAI I PERFORMANCE
    DESIGN LIMIT AT FULL GROSS +/- 6 G's
    TAKE OFF DISTANCE 600 FT.
    STALL SPEED 45 MPH
    LANDING SPEED 54 MPH
    CRUISING SPPED AT 85% 150 MPH
    VNE 225 MPH
    RANGE W/45 MINUTE RESERVE 300 SM
    RATE OF CLIMB AT GROSS 1000 FPM

    Based on those numbers, I think that a lighter airframe of similar size but with a thicker, high-lift wing ought to be meet the 40 mph microlight stall speed. The idea here was to create a fun class for racing (not just speed, but all forms of competition--time to climb, cross-country, slalom, you name it) and general fun that would allow the most freedom possible. As in any form of racing, it's defining and enforcing the engine limitations that would be hardest.

    How about 5.5m maximum span x 5.5m maximum length x 2m maximum height? 5.5m is a good number because it's a little less than the interior length of a 20' ISO shipping container. That not only means a small workshop for the build, but you'd have the option of making a removable, one piece wing and hangaring the aircraft (wing removed) in the same size container.
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    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED and other safe, simple, affordable homebuilt aircraft

    « Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant! »
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Sailplanes are pretty refined and most have a single center wheel.

    Leaning forward is a problem because it leaves no way to support oneself. Gliders allow you to lean forward because you are supported, and the the controls can move forward and backwards with your arms supported by the bar. If you are leaning, the weight must be off the controls.

    The best layout would be "hugging" the engine. Bring it up until you can completely rest on the tank/engine, in order to free the hands up. Also makes it more aerodynamic. You can also tuck a pair of wheels up against the engine with a third on the rear.

    I REALLY need to brush up on my CAD skills. Been working on sketchup for a bit, think I can produce some pretty clear ideas of what needs to be done once I can visualize it for everyone else.
    Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Hard to make the wingspan restriction. The Whing Ding, of course, comes close.


    For the sake of a brain exercise, fanciful though it may be, to keep span short I'd imagine you'd have to go another route. Perhaps pairs of fanwings, or Magnus Effect rotors, in tandem. Robs power, and would be wide even folded I'd imagine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flettner_airplane

    Otherwise, I think the ZJ-Viera (with nose fairing removed) may be as close as you'd get avoiding a high wing.

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    Registered User Doggzilla's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Folding at the root and folding backwards could keep it pretty short.

    Having downturned tips with gear in them could provide both landing gear and a fail wheel, if they fold back while keeping the tips facing down. Turn the wing in place while its still deployed, like face the leading edge up and the trailing edge at the ground, while the tips gear stays in place. Then tuck the wings back with tip gear still on ground.

    In fact, you could fold a pair of wings on the back like a passenger. Hummel bird has 16 foot wingspan. Sticking 6 feet off the back isnt that bad. Its barely longer than somebody "planking". Just need a mount that doubles as the back of a seat.

    Man I really need to get my CGI stuff in order.
    Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
    And no, we don't know where it will lead. We just know there's something much bigger than any of us here.



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    Registered User Hot Wings's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger Tim View Post
    I believe you're thinking of an autogyro.
    Or should be
    Conventional wisdom and practices yield conventional results. If that is good enough for you:
    Problem solved.

    "--and pompous fools drive me up the wall. Ordinary fools are all right; you can talk to them, and try to help them out."
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    Industrial engine electronic management project

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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Triplane.

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    Registered User oriol's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    Matthew,


    I absolutely love the rob horn recumbent bike you attached, I have not seen it before, thanks for sharing! He did a very nice experimenting job on the fork and the rear wheel transmission.


    With the wingspan you are considering the possible configurations that come to mind are the pouchel or a scaled version of Red baron´s. None of those aircraft seem to have nice gliding coefficients, although it will not bother me I am not thinking of gliding but the engine failure scenario is always a concern.

    If you run the numbers to meet the 40Kn stall speed you will have to add a lot of surface making a very low aspect ratio airplane: worsening even more the gliding coefficient.


    Oriol

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    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Re: Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

    The Flynano comes close, though I'm not convinced it'll ever get past the vaporware stage...

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