Modern day "motorcycle of the air" aircraft class?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by cluttonfred, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. Oct 3, 2015 #1

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    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 (https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/...-magnificent-woman-their-flying-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: Oct 3, 2015
    ToAirIsHuman and Thunderchook like this.
  2. Oct 3, 2015 #2

    oriol

    oriol

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    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
     
  3. Oct 3, 2015 #3

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    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.
     
  4. Oct 3, 2015 #4

    autoreply

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    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.
     
  5. Oct 3, 2015 #5

    JamesG

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    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.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2015 #6

    Aesquire

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    Trikes. Violate every one of your criteria, yet are the closest production models to a motorcycle.
     
  7. Oct 3, 2015 #7

    Tiger Tim

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    I believe you're thinking of an autogyro.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2015 #8

    cluttonfred

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    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.

    185_1.jpg motorcycle-drag-racing-classes.jpg bob-horn-recumbent.jpg

    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.
     
  9. Oct 3, 2015 #9

    Doggzilla

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    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.
     
  10. Oct 3, 2015 #10

    WBNH

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    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.
     
  11. Oct 3, 2015 #11

    Doggzilla

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    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.
     
  12. Oct 3, 2015 #12

    Hot Wings

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    Or should be ;)
     
  13. Oct 3, 2015 #13

    bmcj

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    Triplane. :)
     
  14. Oct 3, 2015 #14

    oriol

    oriol

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    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
     
  15. Oct 3, 2015 #15

    Dana

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

    Dana
     
  16. Oct 3, 2015 #16

    Topaz

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    I'm convinced. It won't. No progress in several years, and only that one brief low-level flight showing their work in action. By now, you'd think they'd have a whole YouTube channel full of flights, showing how awesome it is, and keeping the investment pump primed for the production version they claim to be working upon (with no news about that, either).

    Remember, the Dreamwings Valkyrie flew a few times, too. So horrifically, by accounts, that the test pilot finally said, "Nope. Get someone else to fly it."
     
  17. Oct 3, 2015 #17

    JamesG

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    LOL.

    "After spending nearly $3 million on engineering, testing and production, John Hunter admits that his 4-year-old Lawrence business isn't worth a dime...."
     
  18. Oct 3, 2015 #18

    BJC

    BJC

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    They need a better business model to emulate. They should study the un-matched success of Mr. Moller.


    BJC
     
  19. Oct 3, 2015 #19

    Jerry Lytle

    Jerry Lytle

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    Go back, way back to Popular Mechanics. I believe it was in the early fifties. Their cover story was of a flying motorcycle.
    Actual photos in the article. Did it Fly ? Can't remember. The pilot straddled the fuselage while sitting on a motorcycle seat. The control yoke looked like motorcycle handlebars.
     
  20. Oct 3, 2015 #20

    karoliina.t.salminen

    karoliina.t.salminen

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    I have seen a youtube video of a motorcycle of the air: it was a quadcopter.
    Human carrying quadcopter with better power source, pilot on saddle on
    top. Doable with electrics now, practical with next gen batteries.
    I want one or two.
     

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