Why not roadable aircraft

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by Himat, Jan 26, 2012.

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  1. Jan 26, 2012 #1

    Himat

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    Aircar wrote in another thread “And maybe start ANOTHER thread specifically for debunkers,naysayers and those wanting to indulge in putdowns ....”

    Since I do think the roadable aircraft is technical possible, but due to other constraints a development dead end I will start the thread. Part is that in some way I don’t like to put down a good argument about the technology due to regulatory, political, economical, the organisation of society or other “side issues”. So here we go, this is not about the technical solutions, but other implications of roadable aircraft. The mission and what you want from a roadable aircraft is of course part of this. Maybe by thinking about this the roadable aircraft do come closer.

    And remember, the one that consider serious discussions just serious and jokes just for fun have understood both poorly. (My bad translation from the original Danish text.)

    In the different threads concerning roadable aircraft at least these main topics have been mentioned against roadable aircraft:
    -Economics
    -Safety
    -Juridical
    -Infrastructure

    One example I used was about seaplanes. In part of the world a seaplane would work well as roadable aircraft. Then, why are they not used as such?

    Another consideration some people actually do like to live in towns, do that influence viability of raodable aircrafts?
     
  2. Jan 26, 2012 #2

    Nickathome

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    Pal no offense, but what you wrote makes no sense whatsoever...!
     
  3. Jan 27, 2012 #3

    WonderousMountain

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    Roadable aircrafts offend birds.

    It's one thing to make wings to fly, quite another to scurry about on land too. Birds have held council and have pronounced a ban on Roadables.

    My friends the birds have spoken and who am I to disagree.

    Does that make little enough sense nick?
     
    Jaxx and Holden like this.
  4. Jan 27, 2012 #4

    malexander

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    Glad I'm not the only one................I didn't understand a word of it either.

    Marshall Alexander
     
  5. Jan 27, 2012 #5

    Nickathome

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    No.....
     
  6. Jan 27, 2012 #6

    Propshaft

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    Well, I actually believe that analogy DOES make some sense... There are a number of 'road-able' birds, say chickens, turkeys, ostriches etc. These birds are adapted for somewhat rough terrain and traveling over ground trails. They're too heavy or not flyable enough. Then there are a great number of birds that actually operate from the water. I'm sure I don't have to name any. The same goes for planes... There's a number of airplanes that are somewhat road-able, but some only do small hops, others don't fly at all. Lots of amphibian airplanes though... So it's a nice analogy as far as I'm concerned.
     
  7. Jan 27, 2012 #7

    Himat

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    No offense taken.
    More curios, where I unable communicate that the viability of a roadable aircraft depend on more than the technical solution?
    Or do it make no sense to discuss the more non technical requirements for a succesfull roadable car?
     
  8. Jan 27, 2012 #8

    Nickathome

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    In all honestly your wordage and sentence structure makes it hard to discern the message you're trying to convey......I do kinda get it now what you were trying to say though.......

    To get back to the subject, IMO, the technology exists to make a roadable aircraft a reality. Its been proven. The "Need" for such technology I'm afraid is simply not large enough to warrant its continued development. Combine that with the fact that the insurance companies are most likely having a field day picking apart every little nuance of this technology. Add still the automotive industry and its adherence to safety and the subsequent influence again by the insuance companies, to expect this saftey technology to be built into each and every roadable aircraft. Of course this leads to but one place, high cost per unit. Take that with a healthy dose of castor oil, and its no wonder why cars like the Terrafugia are going to cost $350K plus apiece. So right there the cost is the deciding factor in this technology never becoming more than a niche hobby or conversational item in some obscure science journal.
     
  9. Jan 27, 2012 #9

    addicted2climbing

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    Hello,

    On of the members of Eaa Chapter 40 is building a Roadable Aircraft. He just regestered the roadable portion.
    Anyhow here is a link: www.caravella.aero

    Take care,

    Marc
     
  10. Jan 27, 2012 #10

    Aircar

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    Good to see that somebody listens to my ravings (even the sardonic throwaway lines --if I haven't pissed of SVSU by now he might post something here as well ( are "yay sayers" allowed here ? Actually I would probably get on all right with SVSUSteve if we had a beer together (and he sent a nice PM that In only just read --all is forgiven SV... )

    It is perfectly legitimate to be sceptical about the prospects for roadables --the success rate so far is ZERO% in commercial terms and almost zero in terms of getting off the ground even (Terrafugia counts as only a "probable" in that context --the curvature of the Earth came into it--so attempts at "shooting down" the concept -which is really dozens of contending concepts and differing modes --are perfectly welcome.

    Let me start with a counter argument to cost --The Terrafugia would be expensive if it was just an airplane --all carbon fibre and hand made -$30 000 engine (Turbo Rotax ) -that's twelve times the price of a complete TATA Nano (lowest cost and weight car on themarket) or twice or more than cost of a full small car with four seats .

    What do homebuilders do if they want to save money on an engine ? -find a car engine to convert.

    The market for a VIABLE flying car --which will be almost immune from traffic jams when a system to replace the airport function and duplicate it many times is begun --will be what percentage of the non flying car market ? (keep in mind that 40 million cars are sold every year ) --none of the offerings so far got past the threshold to find out but admitedly should probably have found some sort of niche --maybe a critic can nail the reason better than a proponent.

    All power to your thread in the meantime.
     
  11. Jan 28, 2012 #11

    Himat

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    The "yay sayers" are allowed.
    Without both sides, "yay" and "no", present there will bee no discussion and no progress.

    And you word my intention better than me:
     
  12. Jan 28, 2012 #12

    Nickathome

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    Herein lies a problem, for it may be legal in Australia to land and takeoff anywhere, and "anywhere" I mean roads....In the U.S. the only state that it is legal to take off an aircraft from a traveled road is in Alaska. So unless the contiguous 48 states, and maybe Hawaii gets on the bandwagon to change these laws, the idea of a roadabl will still be limited to operated to and from existing airports. So getting away from traffic jams will still not be alleviated to some degree. If your only usable airport is near a city or must be accessed via a busy highway, then you still run the risk of traffic jams even with a roadable.
     
  13. Jan 28, 2012 #13

    WonderousMountain

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    Curiously though, the market for aircraft in Alaska is the largest in all the US, at least per person. There are more pilots/person than any other state.
     
  14. Jan 28, 2012 #14

    Himat

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    Let's use the Terrafuga as an example, and assume the specs are like advertised.
    Nice if you have a long or time consuming commute to work. It is even better if you want to visit friends further away.
    That is if the weather play ball. Where I live I would need full IFR and known icing conditions capabilities if I where to depend on an aircraft to get to work. Anyway, $30 000 and running cost at the same level, but you still need another car to go shopping and all those five to ten minutes drives around the neighbourhood. If you earn the amount of money to have the Terrafuga as a second or third car, you are probably earning enough to buy a nice home closer to work. Then to those with enough money a roadable airplane would be a nice gadget, but they have the money to get around the obstacle (long commute) it intends to solve. The less economic affluent will have to spend their time in traffic jams or rely on mass transit.
     
  15. Jan 28, 2012 #15

    TFF

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    For it to trickle down to us, the affluent have to have it first. You name any invention you have from your watch, electric light, car, phone, cell phone, what ever, the rich have had it first. They are the first test market and they take the brunt of development cost. Heck, that is why inventors court wealthy. If it works it will trickle down. To really be a useful it needs to be VTOL and it cant be wider at takeoff than the widest road rules allows, about 8ft in the US. Put a wing in another lane and it will be knocked off.
     
  16. Jan 29, 2012 #16

    Aircar

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    I fully agree that the dependence on airports ALONE completely strangles the whole practicality aspect -- and WITHOUT an infrastructure to accomodate flying cars there can never be any sort of market --I have raved myself hoarse on this very point on the "design evaluation service" thread and other bits on the "Roadble aircraft DESIGN ' thread --it is absolutely fundamental and without grasping it both designers of flying cars stuck with airports and the critics will both be operating under a basic misapprehension (that might leave me in a crowd of one for the moment but hell, every megalomanic tyrant has to start somewhere ! (until my plans for world domination are realized by the masses I can forment revolution without being noticed...)

    When the first fully practical AND affordable Non Flying Cars appeared:-["NFC's"...:devious: from here on , but otherwise known as "Flightless cars" "Mutant wingless vehicles" (like flying ants that have shed their wings, "Unfinished Cars" , "Grounded cars" "Road-only cars' even "Dodos" or "Emus','Ostriches'.'Kiwis' etc to the enlightened flying car supporters --
    ( BTW what other airforce has a non flying bird on it's roundels ? --we give no quarter to Kiwis(New Zealanders) over here ]
    -- THEY (NFCs) were ridiculed every time they got stuck in the muddy roads and had to be pulled out by horses or ran out of fuel and left the motorist stranded. Any argument based on the difficulty of introduction of a new transport technology or any other replacement technology is just as valid and just as wrong. --how could you sell the first (NFC)car when there were no decent roads to drive on and no garages, no mechanics trained to fix them and do on --or sell the first telephone ? who were you going to talk to ? and how did you know what number to ring without a telephone book when more people had one ?(just like now when there is no book of mobile telephone numbers freely available )

    At least the entire road infrastructure for NFCs is now in place together with liquid fuels almost everwhere available and ALL that is needed for flying cars en masse is a minimal apparatus that substitutes for a runway --NOT by taking off from a road but above it (in suburbia) although that is perfectly feasible for anywhere that the road is basically empty and in open country. WHY stop cars from flying off the roads in Montana or somewhere like that ? Who is harmed ? Who benefits from rapid mobility to remote places ? Why NOT change an archaic law ?

    These arguments are of the kind that "outlaws', literally ,any progress and puts the law above man rather than the other way round. Easily solved.

    Henry Ford refused to capitulate to the market of the rich and firmly believed that there was a mass market that would be economic only by serving a very large number of ordinary people and designed his car and production to that end --Rolls Royce never got a foot in the door in order to use the profits to build millions of cars cheaply for the poor .

    To give him his due Adolph Hitler got the concept of the "peoples' car" on centre stage in Europe AND ramped up the creation of the highway system (autobahns) to make them work .
    The US interstate highway system was done as a defence priority but had it's most benefit to private drivers and industry and commerce -- and a lot of airports are also left overs from wartime and just postwar expansion with very few being added but lots closed since that time --that is a recipe for extinction .

    Where roads are poor or impossible by geography (eg Alaska-New Guinea etc )the use of private aircraft is of course at a maximum and does useful work rather than just leisure or weekend uses --this proves the thesis of unused utility in air travel.

    NO OTHER kind of flying thing could POSSIBLY garner the sort of market potentially available to the car that can fly --it can do both jobs and get the economy of scale of huge production volume --it is still untapped and unproven but address the proposition that nothing tangible now stops this expansion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  17. Jan 29, 2012 #17

    Nickathome

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    Another killer with regards to a "Flying car" is the public's perceived notions that any "wingnut" will be able to fly the thing and suddenly the ground will be littered with the hulks of past air accidents. I think there will be a steeper climb to change this public opinion of roadables, due to the limited intelligence(lets face it the public is generally stupid) of the driving public in the first place....How many news reports have you heard regarding this subject, and almost every time the idea that anyone will be able to fly one of these things come up....Until the public can be informed in a way that it will understand, that not anybody will be able to fly one, and that roadables will be a safe vehicle, its going to be an uphill climb in the arena of public (and most likely political) opinion.
     
  18. Jan 29, 2012 #18

    Matt G.

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    Funny you should mention that, as CNN just ran an article on Terrafugia...I read through the first 20 or 30 comments, and not a single one is positive...
     
  19. Jan 29, 2012 #19

    Himat

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    I do not belive in the tricle down economy.
    No megayacht have tricled down to me:).

    More serious, some inventions where first costly and for the few, but later on affordable for all. Mass production and lower cost together with higher purchase power have given different “goods” to the masses. But some have stayed costly and for the few. One, if not a particular god example is the electronic calculator. The first ones appeared in the early 1970'ies at a high cost. But better than the mechanical ones they replaced. As the price came down everyone could buy one and today they cost from US$1 and up. Parallel to the price drop on the simple pocket calculator the scientific calculator got more and more features, and is even today expensive compared to the simple calculator. The scientific calculator have never become something for the masses.

    Is the roadable car that useful and is it possible to get the price down?

    Is there airspace for that many roadable aircraft?

    And built to the Tata Nano price standar, will safety be Tata Nano standard?
     
  20. Jan 29, 2012 #20

    hogheadv2

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    With wheel driven power to help takeoff, a tad less motor is needed for flight, stay with 3 wheels to avoid all that govt. crash test bs.... small turbune generator to piss off the neighbors.... [and melt the grills of tailgaters]..... Why the heck not....
     

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