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Tom DM

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Not on my list either. Years ago I worked with an Air Force vet who had been stationed in Europe for several years. He said there were a few towns that their 1967 full sized Chevy wouldn't fit through the gates. I'm guessing maybe these were medieval walled towns? Dennis


Nope : *then* it might be that the roads were physically not wide enough.
*Now* and in Germany for sure: a lot of towns do not allow "high pollution" vehicles any more + you need special taxsticker
Unweltplakette 1-4 , EuroNorm 0- 6d"

Might I advise to remind them Krauts as who has won the War? ;)

Had some dealings and follow up with USAF (Wiesbaden area): they all liked Germany, the cars and the roads... some got in trouble upon returning to the US as "traffic enforcement " caught them out. I bought a 928 from one of them but and after a drive in his (then new) C4 ZR1 I knew why the 928 had to go. Still have the 928 and followed his lead concerning the ZR1.
 
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challenger_II

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When my team was in Denmark, we quickly figured out how to tell the local populace's financial status: the lower-income group rode bicycles. The middle class drove Toyotas. The upper class drove BMWs. The insanely wealthy drove Ford F350 Duallys and Cadillacs.
 

Pops

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When I was working for VW , German engineers would come to our plant and would get in trouble with getting arrested for drunken driving. Didn't take long for most to get shipped back to Germany.
 

Dan Thomas

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How many people flew around prior to 17 December 1903? How compares an aircraft from the start of WOII to the aircraft 6 years later?
Luckily the Wright brothers were refused a patent on a "flying machine" when they just made one...

Give them drone-buggers some slack, time but -most importantly- only access to private capital.

If there is ever "an aircraft for the masses" (and the bonanza that goes along), it will almost surely pass by their technology.
Actual existing aircrafts "for personal use" do not make the cut as their market penetration proves.
Prior to 1903 there were numerous attempts at powered flight. From Wiki, on steam-powered flight alone:

  • 1842: The Aerial Steam Carriage of William Samuel Henson and John Stringfellow was patented, but was never successful, although a steam-powered model was flown in 1848.
  • 1852: Henri Giffard flew a 3-horsepower (2 kW) steam-powered dirigible over Paris; it was the first powered aircraft.
  • 1861 Gustave Ponton d'Amécourt made a small steam-powered craft, coining the name helicopter.
  • 1874: Félix du Temple flew a steam-powered aluminium monoplane off a downhill run. While it did not achieve level flight, it was the first manned heavier-than-air powered flight.
  • 1877: Enrico Forlanini built and flew a model steam-powered helicopter in Milan.
  • 1882: Alexander Mozhaisky built a steam-powered plane but it did not achieve sustained flight. The engine from the plane is in the Central Air Force Museum in Monino, Moscow.
  • 1890: Clément Ader built a steam-powered, bat-winged monoplane, named the Eole. Ader flew it on October 9, 1890, over a distance of 50 metres (160 ft), but the engine was inadequate for sustained and controlled flight. His flight did prove that a heavier-than-air flight was possible. Ader made at least three further attempts, the last two on 12 and 14 October 1897 for the French Ministry of War. There is controversy about whether or not he attained controlled flight. Ader did not obtain funding for his project, and that points to its probable failure.[1]
  • 1894: Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (inventor of the Maxim Gun) built and tested a large rail-mounted, steam-powered aircraft testbed, with a mass of 3.5 long tons (3.6 t) and a wingspan of 110 feet (34 m) in order to measure the lift produced by different wing configurations. The machine unexpectedly generated sufficient lift and thrust to break free of the test track and fly, but was never intended to be operated as a piloted aircraft and so crashed almost immediately owing to its lack of flight controls.
  • 1896: Samuel Pierpont Langley successfully flew unpiloted steam-powered models.[2]
  • 1897: Carl Richard Nyberg's Flugan developed steam-powered aircraft over a period from 1897 to 1922, but they never achieved more than a few short hops.
The Wrights didn't fool with steam. Too heavy. They saw the early gasoline-powered automobiles, and since they couldn't find a light enough engine, they built their own. That light engine, plus flight controls, plus wind-tunnel testing, made the difference.

It took 11 years for Igor Sikorsky to fly an airplane carrying more than one or two passengers. After that, development was fairly brisk. It all depended on more powerful gasoline engines, larger, stronger and more stable aircraft, and a better understanding of stability and control. These were not impossible things to do. The technology and the knowledge were already there, ready to be used.

Now, drones need far more power than any fixed-wing airplane, for the same weight and load capacity. Short rotors are much less efficient than helicopter rotors, and helicopter rotors are much less efficient than fixed wings. Hovering demands much more power. Helicopters get away with it, and did so with light, powerful aircraft engines. When turbine engines emerged, the helicopter really advanced. The small turbine engine develops as much as four HP per pound, while the piston engine develops about half a HP per pound.

And that's where drones fail. All the attempts I've seen are electric. Powerful electric motors are easily found, but batteries are heavy, expensive, and have some serious safety issues. The drone has no capability of autorotational flight, like a helicopter, if the power fails. It just falls out of control and crashes. Even if one motor fails it's in trouble. So it needs redundant systems, which means more weight and cost and complexity. And weight is always the enemy, especially in such machines. You cannot scale models up and say it will work. Doubling the size of the model quadruples its area, and its weight increases by eight times. Cubed. And it's still too small. Four times as big and it's 64 times heavier, and it needs batteries to fly for 30 or 40 minutes at least. Models don't fly that long, do they? Model airplanes do fine because they have engines that have unusual power-to-weight ratios, and don't carry much fuel and no payload. Short flights. Moller's Skycar is an example of a drone that never succeeded, even on 800 HP. For two people. 40 years and $100 million into it. Is that enough market capital? Apparently not.

All it would take is one accident, killing four people, to set the whole idea back 20 years.

Even fixed-wing electric flight is a long way from practical applications. Most have a range of an hour or less, so you don't get far from the airport, and any cross-country trips are from one airport to a nearby airport, and charging facilities are necessary, and a lot of time sitting around.

Man-carrying drones, like all electric airplanes, are waiting for massive advances in battery technologies, and we've been waiting for those for a long time already. Even then, it takes many years from working prototypes to commercially-viable batteries. The nickel-cadmium battery was invented in about 1898, and it took over 90 years to show up in my cordless tools. Some jet aircraft used them for starting for 20? years before that. The lithium-ion battery was invented in 1967 and didn't reach commercial viability for what? 35 years or more? There are some good videos on Youtube on the technical difficulties that must be overcome. There are some hard chemical limits to this stuff.

It takes more than market capital. It takes new discoveries and inventions. Money can't buy everything. I wish it could. I'd buy antigravity technology and beat everyone else at this game.
 
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Bigshu

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Drones are disruptive technology? How many drones are flying people around these days?
Drones and cell phone forensics are probably going to replace manned searches in aircraft soon for CAP. Drones are being built to replace some delivery vehicles, probably to include big jets sometime soon. Drones can be a new wave of personal air vehicles in the same way personal watercraft are prevalent in protected waters. As recreational vehicle, much like most GA aircraft are used now.
 

Hephaestus

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The truly wealthy don't flaunt it, just the want-a-bees.
Oh they definitely do, I just got a tour of the new global express... I guess the old one was a few years old.

It's however nondescript boring white. No candy red pearls 😂
 

Tom DM

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The truly wealthy don't flaunt it, just the want-a-bees.


/ Forrest Gump Mode ON.
Do they?
/ Forrest Gump Mode OFF


You are right, Pops.

Truly wealthy do not flaunt it because most -especially those publicly funded or having honestly stolen it - don't want to been seen for very good reason.

It doesn't need a second look however and that is also deliberate.
 

raytol

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Looks like I should have said "a viable concept" not "a correct concept". I still believe it is possible.
It will probably have to be a home built under the "experimental" category and be road registered
under a kit car or small manufacturers registration.
 

Bigshu

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You would not be permitted to build and sell new versions of the 1956 172. The FARs would prohibit it. Cessna was forced to beef up all the weak areas that showed up in the first 30 years of the production runs, and they also had to meet new rules, like the massively strong seats I mentioned.

Well, there's your problem. It's two fold really. Nobody expects a car to look and perform like new after it's typical 20 year useful life. And they don't. They need considerable reconditioning, or restoration at that point. It makes sense that 30+ year old aircraft would need a refresh as well. The only things standing in the way? The FAA with it's crazy regulations, and the fact that aircraft don't really have a useful life, they go extremely long times, and get extreme measures taken to keep them flying. There's a cottage industry of companies that offer steel or fiberglass replacement body parts, engines, interiors, etc. for a lot of cars that have a following big enough to make it worthwhile to rebuild them. Same with airplanes, but I can DIY a lot of the car stuff, almost none of the airplane stuff, and the airplane restorers charge an arm and a leg to comply with the regs.
 
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Tom DM

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The problem, its demise and solution of certified General aviation are engrained in its concept.

The (certified) market is locked closed first under pretext of safety which quickly evolved into the monopolization and ruthless exploitation of end-user. The fact that modernization / new technology are heavily penalized, created slowly but surely a fierce competitor in the form of the experimental aircraft industry. At first the experimentals flew cirkels around GA pricewise, some do now 360-ies performance-wise.

All went in mutual beneficial interest of the GA-sector (producers, regulator, maintenance shops) but even with them being so smart some things remained un-accounted for as these would pop up but much later: the intrinsic and ending lifespan of the equipment (airframes, engine etc) no matter how well maintained and the market (endusers) emptying ( severe decline of the number of GA pilots)

The actual situation is typical "end-on-an-era": a sector needing skyhigh prices, only obtainable by extortion and structural fraud just to stay afloat, combined with a reducing number of fish in the pond on which to prey.
There is no question about "if" this will implode, but when.

"Interesting times" are a curse but this one may have silver linings.
 
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Dan Thomas

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Well, there's your problem. It's two fold really. Nobody expects a car to look and perform like new after it's typical 20 year useful life. And they don't. They need considerable reconditioning, or restoration at that point. It makes sense that 30+ year old aircraft would need a refresh as well. The only things standing in the way? The FAA with it's crazy regulations, and the fact that aircraft don't really have a useful life, they go extremely long times, and get extreme measures taken to keep them flying. There's a cottage industry of companies that offer steel or fiberglass replacement body parts, engines, interiors, etc. for a lot of cars that have a following big enough to make it worthwhile to rebuild them. Same with airplanes, but I can DIY a lot of the car stuff, almost none of the airplane stuff, and the airplane restorers charge an arm and a leg to comply with the regs.
Restoring airplanes is a lot more work that restoring a car. There are far more "collector" cars in rough shape than there are airplanes, and so there are many aftermarket parts for them, from multiple sources, none of which need to be certified.

Certification involves keeping track of all the materials that a part is made from, all the way back to the mine the metal was extracted from or the plant that made the raw plastic. Who made the part and with what methods. This takes time and a lot of paperwork, and nobody wants to work for nothing. The reason for this hassle is that people have died because of counterfeit parts failing in flight.

The non-aviation technician has no idea what's involved inside the industry.

The old airplane is full of parts that are not made anymore, anywhere. The Cessna flat leaf spring main gear legs on old 150s, 172s, 182s, 180s and 185s are an example. They corrode, and so the wrecking yards have few or none that could be cleaned up and certified by the mechanic. So a restorer has to take the old gear leg to a metallurgist, who determines what alloy it is and what heat-treatment it had. Then that info is used by a willing spring shop to cut and form and heat-treat new legs. Not many non-aviation shops are willing to fool with aircraft parts; its liabilities are too great. So it's expensive, really expensive. Aluminum formed into compound curves was either handmade on an English wheel, or it was stamped from -O sheet and then heat-treated. Think that's cheap?

The easiest airplanes to restore will be the tube-and fabric jobs. The expensive part is finding a good welder, and in Canada he needs industry certification. An ordinary mechanic cannot legally do it. Can't even do it and get someone with certification to approve it. There are good reasons for that, inflight structural failures among them.

I worked on a Maule M-4 once, did a lot of repair on it, and I didn't see anything in that airplane that I couldn't make with a lathe and milling machine or some plywood form blocks. No fancy castings or forgings. The biggest hassle would be the old O-300 engine that has been out of production for a long time.
 
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