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16-01-2011, 12:09 PM
The scenario could be just the pipe dream of yet another of the dozens of post World War II inventors who promised us our own commuting plane. But the dream of prof. Paul Moller is different. Moller’s goal is to build a practical transportation vehicle of the air – the SKYCAR or VOLANTOR, having three really clear-cut criteria – it has to be easy to fly, it has to be safe and it has to be fundamentally inexpensive.
You enter your security code on the vehicles external keypad. The clear canopy rises silently while an onboard computer initiates its preflight review sequence. Easing into the pilot’s seat, you secure inertial safety harness and scan the system’s monitor, one of the two CRT screens that replace dozens of dials in earlier aircraft. It shows all systems up and ready, and then responds to your verbal command to check each item.
Another voice command, combined with your operation of a microswitch on the throttle, starts all eight engines. With a nudge to the throttle, the volantor rises to three feet. Scanning the CRTs, you complete your hovercheck. All okay. An easy forward motion on the right hand joystick and the engines accelerate, humming quietly. The computer assumes control to attain the present rate of climb and altitude. A quick glance at the flight monitor shows an air speed of 160 mph and a 4800 ft – per – minute climb. Slightly more than a minute after lift - off, you are one mile up and traveling at five times faster than the highway traffic below. Welcome to the 21st century commuting………………..
This seminar and presentation deals with
History of skycars
Moller International has developed the first and only feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle the world has ever seen. You've always known it was just a matter of time before the world demanded some kind of flying machine which would replace the automobile. Of course, this machine would have to be capable of VTOL, be easy to maintain, cost effective and reliable. The solution to this is the volantor named M400 Skycar. .
Let's compare the M400 Skycar with what's available now, the automobile. Take the most technologically advanced automobile, the Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini, or the more affordable Acura, Accord, or the like. It seems like all of the manufacturers of these cars are touting the new and greatly improved "aerodynamics" of their cars. Those in the aerospace industry have been dealing with aerodynamics from the start. In the auto industry they boast of aerodynamics, performance tuned wide track suspensions, electronic ignition and fuel injection systems, computer controllers, and the list goes on. What good does all this "advanced engineering" do for you when the speed limit is around 60 MPH and you are stuck on crowded freeways anyway?
Can any automobile give you this scenario? From your garage to your destination, the M400 Skycar can cruise comfortably at 350+ MPH and achieve over 25 per gallon. No traffic, no red lights, no speeding tickets. Just quiet direct transportation from point A to point B in a fraction of the time. Three dimensional mobility for the same price as two dimensional mobility.
No matter how you look at it the automobile is only an interim step on our evolutionary path to independence from gravity. That's all it will ever be.
Moller International's M400 Skycar volantor is the next step
HISTORY OF SKYCAR
In 1962, Dr. Moller built a six to one scale model of the XM-2. Two years later in the garage of his residence in Davis, CA he began construction of the full size aircraft. As Moller Aircraft Corporation, Dr. Moller completed construction of this prototype using two 2-cycle McCulloch drone engines which produced enough power to allow the XM-2 to hover in ground effect in 1965. With the success of his first VTOL flight, Dr. Moller began to re-engine the XM-2 in 1966 with two Mercury outboard engines under UC Davis sponsorship. The re-engined XM-2 was then flown for the International Press at the UC Davis airport in 1966. In 1968 Dr. Moller received his first patent on this VTOL XM-2 configuration.
Construction of the XM-3 began in 1966 and was a small two-passenger VTOL aircraft of unique design. A single ring fan powered by 8 go-kart engines surrounded the passengers to create the lift required for vertical flight. In 1968, Dr. Moller flew the XM-3 in ground effect. This configuration was patented in 1969.
XM – 4 SKYCAR
Similar to the XM-3, the XM-4 was also a small two-passenger saucer-shaped aircraft. Encouraged by his earlier success of the XM-2 and XM-3 construction of this model began in 1970. The XM-4 featured eight Fichtel-Sachs rotary engines which surrounded the passengers in a circular pattern and debuted in 1974.
Although the XM-4 design proved significantly more stable than earlier models, the engines lacked sufficient power to operate out of ground effect. So, with the acquisition of the necessary rotary engine technology from Outboard Marine Corporation in 1985, Moller International began modifications of their Wankel-type engines which offered a significantly improved power source. In 1987, the XM-4 was re-engined. The highly modified engines allowed for a 20% increase in power while decreasing the engine weight by 50%. Slight modifications were made to accommodate the new engines and this prototype was renamed M200X. In 1989, Dr. Moller again set out to Wow the world with yet another successful test flight. On May 10, 1989 Dr. Moller flew the M200X for the International Press. Since then the M200X has made over 200 successful flights.
The Moller M150 Skycar was designed for single person VTOL. The picture shows a prototype of the M150 that was displayed at a motorshow in Essen, Germany.
M150 SKYCAR SPECIFICATIONS
S.I. U.S. AVIATION
Passengers 1 1 1
Maximum Speed 604 km/hr 375 mph 326 knots
Cruise Speed 539 km/hr 335 mph 291 knots
Gross Weight 386 kg 850 lbs 850 lbs
Empty Weight 254 kg 560 lbs 560 lbs
(Gasoline/Alcohol) 19 km/l
13 km/l 45 mpg
30 mpg 39 Nmi/gal
(Gasoline/Alcohol) 1,086 km
725 km 675 mi
450 mi 587 Nmi
Take-Off Distance 0 m 0 ft (VTOL)
Landing Distance 0 m 0 ft (VTOL)
(LxWxH) 3.7m, 2.4m, 1.5m 12'x 8'x 5' 12'x 8'x 5'
Moller has developed, built, and flown a two passenger prototype model of a volantor called the M200X. The volantor is a new type of aircraft that combines the performance of airplanes and the VTOL capability of helicopters in a single vehicle without the limitations of either.
Using a principle similar to that of the British Harrier jump jet, the Moller Skycar volantor incorporates a patented thrust deflection vane system that redirects thrust, enabling it to hover or to takeoff and land vertically from almost any surface. This capability plus the added safety of ducted fans makes it ideal for a wide variety of commercial and military applications. These include private and charter air travel, express delivery, news gathering, border patrol, police and fire work, and search and rescue, to name just a few.
SPECIFICATIONS OF M400 SKYCAR
Top speed @ 20,000 ft: 380 mph
Cruise speed @ 29,000 ft (80% Max Range): 300 mph
Cruise speed @ 29,000 ft (Max Range): 210 mph
Cruise speed @ Sea Level (Max Range): 140 mph
Maximum rate of climb: 5500 fpm
Maximum range: 900 miles
Net payload: 750 lbs
Fuel consumption: 28 mpg
Operational ceiling: 29,000 ft
Gross weight: 2400 lbs
Installed engine power: 645 hp
Power boost (emergency): 70%
Dimensions (LxWxH): 19.5' x 8.5' x 7.5'
Takeoff and landing area: 35 ft dia
Noise level at 500 ft: 65 dba (Goal)
Vertical takeoff and landing: yes
Uses automotive gas: yes
Emergency parachutes: yes
vo - lan - tor (vo-lan'ter) n. A vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that is capable of flying in a quick, nimble, and agile manner.
The Skycar volantor developed by Moller International is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) much as a helicopter and flies from point of departure to destination much like an airplane However, the Skycar volantor is uniquely qualified to travel short distances on the ground as an automobile as well. All this and incredibly, its easy to fly! Actually a computer does the flying. The pilot need only move the controls in the direction he wants to go so that little skill is required. (Still for the time being, the operator will need to have a private pilot’s license until the ease of operation and safety are thoroughly demonstrated.) The Moller Skycar is a volantor capable of these remarkable achievements through the use of an arrangement (array - collection - grouping) of proprietary technologies.
Favourable power to weight ratio is the basic qualification for VTOL. However, in order to create a safe, environmentally responsible and economically feasible method of transportation, Moller International had to take into consideration a number of components including airframe and engines.
A VTOL aircraft with its larger installed power must be aerodynamically efficient at high cruise speeds if it is to use that installed power efficiently. Also, if the airframe of the volantor is not appropriately aerodynamic, fuel consumption increases and its maximum travel distance (range) becomes unacceptable. The ideal airframe must also be lightweight so the craft can obtain a favourable power to weight ratio. Lastly, it must be strong for stabilization and safety.
The determination of aerodynamic efficiency comes down to the following:
1. When the aircraft is moving at high speed, does the propulsive air move efficiently through the propulsion or thrust system?
2. Does the aircraft have a small frontal area?
3. Does the aircraft have a small wetted area (surface area in contact with the airstream)?
4. Is the vehicle sufficiently streamlined to ensure that its aerodynamic surfaces are free from airflow separation and therefore present a clean aerodynamic design?
5. Does the configuration achieve a good lift/drag ratio at high cruise speeds?
Some light planes built today, particularly those in the experimental or homebuilt category do an excellent job satisfying the above conditions. A measure of aerodynamic performance is the passenger transport efficiency (PTE) as measured by:
PTE = (Passenger Miles / Gallon)
A few four-seat aircraft have a PTE near 70 at 250 MPH although they will generally have a fairly high landing speed without STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) provisions (flaps, slats, etc,), The key to a successful high-speed design with a high PTE is finding a way to simultaneously satisfy the five stated aerodynamic requirements. For example, a long, very narrow aircraft could certainly be streamlined and have a small frontal area, but might have an excessive wetted area.
• An efficient VTOL aircraft requires the propulsive airflow to move almost horizontally through the system during cruise because even a modest bending of the flow can introduce a substantial drag due to momentum losses.
• A frontal area under 25 ft2 is realistic for a VTOL aircraft carrying up to four passengers.
• A wetted area to frontal area ratio under 15 is achievable with an efficient airframe design.
• The drag coefficient based on wetted area (CDwet) is a good measure of the aircraft's freedom from airflow separation. A well-designed aircraft should achieve CDwet of .005 at cruise while a state-of-the-art design arrived at after extensive wind tunnel testing could have a CDwet <.004.
• Lift/Drag Ratio (L/D) will be high with a large wing area and a high aspect ratio. However, this high L/D will only occur at speeds significantly lower than desired cruising velocity. A high aspect ratio is also hard to achieve in a light vehicle where the fuselage becomes a lifting body, due to its size relative to the small wing area required for efficient high-speed flight with a modest payload. For this reason, the maximum lift/drag ratio of a powered lift aircraft is likely to be less than that for a conventional airplane, but could match or exceed its PTE at higher cruise speeds (>250 MPH).
The Skycar volantor's composite airframe is constructed mostly of FRP (fiber reinforced plastic) which enables-it to be both lightweight and strong. Moller International have their own 250 mph wind tunnel in which they have performed over 1000 hours of detailed flight testing using both powered and un-powered models to ensure that an optimum design is chosen.
As seen from the example above, VTOL aircraft requires a great deal of power to obtain lift-off and perform a safe landing. Since the engine must lift its own weight along with the weight of the craft it must be lightweight. Economy is another area that requires much attention. Purchase price, operating costs, and maintenance costs are all factors which, if too high, can make the engine impractical. Lastly, to be truly efficient, an engine must be environmentally friendly. Ideally, clean burning engines capable of using the most readily available fuels would provide the best option.
The need for a moderately high disc loading results in a relatively high installed power in order to hover. For the installed powerplant weight not to become excessive, the engines must be light for their power output. The key element in determining the VTOL aircraft cost may then become the powerplant. If, for example, one uses 200 lb/ft< disc loading, it can be shown that:
(Installed Horsepower / Gross Vehicle Weight) -0.5
In this case, a VTOL aircraft with a modest payload requires installed power in the 1000 HP range and an engine HP to weight ratio near 2. A turbine can meet this weight requirement; however, a small 100 HP turbo-shaft can cost $100.000, while a single 1000 HP turbo-shaft can cost $300,000. The smaller turbo-shaft gives poor specific fuel consumption, while the single engine provides no back up. Any design using turbo-fan engines will expect even higher engine costs. A turbo-fan using disc loading like the Harrier generates only one half pound of lift for every horsepower. Hence, the Harrier requires approximately 40,000 HP with little payload capability in the VTOL mode.
To meet the 2 HP/lb requirement in a small fuel-efficient form, only two engine alternatives appear to be possible at an economical cost;
• A turbo-charged or super-charged fuel injected 2-cycle engine. This engine would need to be developed.
• A rotary engine that employs aluminum housings, peripheral porting and an air-cooled rotor. Engines of this design are in existence.
Moller rotary engines were developed from technology obtained from Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) and are of the Wankel- Type. During each rotation of the rotor a four stroke spark ignition combustion process occurs in each of the three pockets of a triangular rotor. After one full rotation of the rotor the engine has completed the four-stroke process three times. They therefore provide a high power-to-weight ratio at a reasonable cost and are very small for their power output. The 150 HP model used in the
M400 can be easily carried by one person. Eight Rotapower engines are used in the production model volantor.
Wankel-type rotary engines in general are very reliable as a result of their simplicity. The number of moving parts in a Moller rotary engine (dual-rotor) is approximately seven percent of those in a four-cylinder piston engine. The rotapower engine is also multi -fuel capable. Moller rotary engines in the volantor are typically configured to run on unleaded gasoline however, the engine's ability to run on diesel has been recently demonstrated to the Army and on Natural Gas to another organization.
PARTS OF ROTARY ENGINE
A rotary engine has an ignition system and a fuel-delivery system that are similar to the ones on piston engines. If you've never seen the inside of a rotary engine, be prepared for a surprise, because you won't recognize much.
The rotor has three convex faces, each of which acts like a piston. Each face of the rotor has a pocket in it, which increases the displacement of the engine, allowing more space for air/fuel mixture.
At the apex of each face is a metal blade that forms a seal to the outside of the combustion chamber. There are also metal rings on each side of the rotor that seal to the sides of the combustion chamber.
The rotor has a set of internal gear teeth cut into the center of one side. These teeth mate with a gear that is fixed to the housing. This gear mating determines the path and direction the rotor takes through the housing.
The housing is roughly oval in shape (it's actually epitrochoid in shape -- check out this Java demonstration of how the shape is derived). The shape of the combustion chamber is designed so that the three tips of the rotor will always stay in contact with the wall of the chamber, forming three sealed volumes of gas.
Each part of the housing is dedicated to one part of the combustion process. The four sections are:
The intake and exhaust ports are located in the housing. There are no valves in these ports. The exhaust port connects directly to the exhaust, and the intake port connects directly to the throttle.
The output shaft has round lobes mounted eccentrically, meaning that they are offset from the centerline of the shaft. Each rotor fits over one of these lobes. The lobe acts sort of like the crankshaft in a piston engine. As the rotor follows its path around the housing, it pushes on the lobes. Since the lobes are mounted eccentric to the output shaft, the force that the rotor applies to the lobes creates torque in the shaft, causing it to spin.
WORKING OF ROTARY ENGINE
The working of Wankel engine is shown in the figure. In the first figure compression just starts, in the second one air-fuel mixture is sucked and at this stage, spark plug fires and combustion takes place. This is followed by the exhaust process. i.e. one revolution of rotor completes three Otto cycles which is thrice as compared to a two stroke engine and six times as compared to four stroke engines.
The four-seat Skycar is powered by eight rotary engines that are housed inside four metal housings, called nacelles, on the side of the vehicle. There are two engines in each nacelle so that if one of the engines in one of the nacelle fails, the other engine can sustain flight. Each nacelle fully encloses the engines and fans, greatly reducing the possibility of injury to individuals near the aircraft. The volantor's VTOL lift is obtained via airflow through the four ducted fan propulsion nacelles which is redirected downward by deflection vanes during vertical takeoff. The engines lift the craft with 720 horse power, and then thrust the craft forward. To make the Skycar safe and available to the general public, it will be completely controlled by computers using Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, which Moller calls a fly-by-wire system. In case of an accident, the vehicle will release a parachute and airbags, internally and externally, to cushion the impact of the crash.
DEFLECTION VANE SYSTEM
VERTICAL TAKE-OFF FORWARD MOTION
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A 4-STROKE PISTON AND A WANKEL ROTARY
• The Rotor replaces the piston engine's piston.
• The Eccentric Shaft replaces the piston engine's crankshaft and connecting rods.
• The Rotor Housing replaces the piston engine's cylinder.
• Intake and Exhaust Ports in the housings replace valves, camshafts, rocker arms, springs, lifter rods, and timing belts.
4-Stroke Piston vs. 4-Stroke Rotary
No matter how well an engine is designed it has the potential to malfunction at some point during its lifetime. The possibility also exists that something outside the pilot's control, like bird ingestion, could cause an engine or lift fan to fail. If the proposed VTOL aircraft is to be a practical size, it must use a propulsion system with fairly high fan or disc loading, which is also necessary for good cruise efficiency. A more highly loaded fan (>30 LB/ft.) is not capable of auto-rotation. Therefore, any aircraft using higher disc loading will need a back-up system or systems to ensure passenger survival in case of a critical component failure. Great care was taken developing a production model volantor which would provide safety and comfort as well.
The most important issue in aviation is safety. So, the following safety features were designed into our volantor to help provide a safe alternative to ground transportation:
• Dual Engines -- In the unlikely event of an engine failure sufficient power remains to ensure a safe and comfortable landing. Since the M400 has eight engines, one or more can fail and the Skycar will still operate safely. Unlike any light helicopter or airplane, the M400 Skycar has four engine nacelles; each with two Rotapower engines. These computer-controlled engines operate independently and allow for a vertical controlled landing should one engine fail.
• Redundant Computer Stabilization Systems -- The Skycar has redundant, independent computer systems for flight management, stability and control. Should a computer problem occur backup systems would take over seamlessly? M400 has three independent computers for flight management with only one needed to fly.
• Redundant Fuel Monitoring -- Multiple systems check fuel for quality and quantity and provide appropriate warnings.
• Aerodynamically Stable -- In the unlikely event that insufficient power is available to hover, the Skycar's aerodynamic stability and good glide slope allows the pilot to maneuver to a safe area before using the airframe parachutes.
• Automated Stabilization -- Since computers control the Skycar flight during hover and transition, the only pilot input is speed and direction. Undesirable movement of the Skycar due to wind gusts is automatically prevented.
• Inherent Simplicity of the Engines -- Rotary engines have very few moving parts and therefore require very little maintenance and have little opportunity for breakdown and wear.
• Enclosed Fans -- Each nacelle fully encloses the engines and fans, greatly reducing the possibility of injury to individuals near the aircraft. The volantor's VTOL lift is obtained via airflow through the four ducted fan propulsion nacelles which is redirected downward by deflection vanes during vertical takeoff.
• Dual Parachutes -- Even in the instance of complete power loss you and your passengers are protected. The two airframe parachutes, front and rear, will guide the volantor safely and comfortably to the ground without incidence and can be deployed in the event of a critical failure of the aircraft. With the parachutes, the pilot, passengers and the Skycar can be recovered safely. Parachutes developed for the ultra-light aircraft industry that are ballistically ejected have demonstrated reliable vehicle recovery above 150 feet. Recovery is possible at a much lower altitude if the aircraft has a modest forward velocity or if a spreader gun is used to spread the parachute canopy. The best primary system should use the minimum number of engines necessary together with sufficient power to hover after the failure of one engine. A multi-engine system also interfaces well with a back-up parachute system since the time between consecutive engine failures should allow sufficient opportunity for the parachute to be deployed. A single engine failure in a VTOL aircraft with eight independent ducts and one engine per duct would require 54% reserve power in order to continue to hover. The same number of engines arranged in four nacelles with two engines per nacelle requires 36% reserve power to accommodate an engine failure. The safe operation of a VTOL aircraft requires that during hover it operate as close to the ground as possible (<25 ft.) and that transition to forward flight occur as quickly as possible. With the loss of an engine at 25-ft altitude the vehicle could be landed very quickly without incident. Above 25 ft altitude one can assume that the vehicle is moving forward and generating some aerodynamic lift so that a second engine failure should not be as critical. In the case where a critical number of engines fail and transition is not complete, aerodynamic lift can extend the flight time in the critical period before the parachute is fully deployed. Thus, deployment could occur at relatively low altitudes (<25 ft.) particularly if a spreader gun is used. In any case, a new concept aircraft can be expected to undergo the unexpected. Thus, overlapping systems to ensure passenger safety would be appropriate and should be mandatory.
• Emergency options -- The Skycar can land almost anywhere, and therefore avoid dangerous situations created by a sudden weather change or equipment failure.
Low noise is clearly necessary for a Skycar to operate near or within highly populated areas. The Skycar's multiple ducted fan arrangement is designed to generate low fan noise by using modest thrust loading and tip speeds. Hover tests in the earlier M200X demonstrated a noise level of 85 decibels at 50 feet, less than 30% of the noise level produced by a Cessna 150 during take-off. The company's on-going work in mutual noise cancellation is expected to reduce the M400 Skycar noise level sufficiently to eventually allow urban usage.
The Rotapower engine produces little NOx, the most difficult pollutant to eliminate. In addition, using a stratified charge combustion process greatly reduces the unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emitted.
The absence of unprotected rotating components such as propellers and rotors makes the Skycar friendlier to both users and by-standers.
The Skycar's fuel-efficient engines and ability to run on regular automotive gasoline result in low fuel costs. The Skycar is significantly more fuel efficient in passenger miles per gallon than the tilt-rotor V22 Osprey, helicopters or many commercial jet airplanes.
Vehicle purchase price is a dominant factor in determining overall cost of ownership. For example, the Skycar's purchase price per passenger seat is project and implimentationed to be 10% of that for the 30 passenger V22 Osprey. Mechanically complex machines like the V22 Osprey and large helicopters are unlikely to undergo significant reduction in manufacturing costs since mass-production of such a large and expensive aircraft is unlikely.
In addition, the Skycar's operating profile is especially attractive given the user's ability to determine his or her own specific departure time and destination, a great advantage over other mass transportation systems.
Cost Effective Performance
From its inception the M400 Skycar volantor has been designed to minimize both direct and indirect costs. The Skycar uses an engine that can burn almost any fuel from diesel to natural gas so that worldwide refueling can be accommodated by what is locally available. Using gasoline, the M400 can be expected to get over 25 mpg. With a range of 900 miles, the logistics associated with refueling the shorter-range helicopter can be eliminated.
The rotapower engines have only two major moving parts, weigh less than 80 pounds and occupy less than one cubic foot. The bulk of the remaining technology is electronic and replaceable in modules as the onboard redundant systems identify a failed or failing component.
Vehicle size greatly affects ground mobility and parking space required. The Skycar, with its compact size, can be stored in a space the size of a standard single car garage. The landing gear on the vehicle makes roadability possible for short distances.
Initially introduced as the M400, four-seat model, the Skycar technology has the ability to be both scaled up to a six passenger, M600, or scaled down to a one passenger, M100. This allows a cost efficient vehicle size to accommodate a variety of military, paramilitary, and commercial transport missions.
Time Critical Performance
The Skycar's combined VTOL and speed capability make extremely rapid response possible. Search and Rescue, Emergency Medical, Drug Interdiction, Surveillance, or Critical Personnel Transport are examples where minutes saved can literally mean the difference between success and failure, life and death, or thousands of dollars. Helicopters have traditionally offered the flexibility necessary in these applications allowing for ingress and egress into a limited space where fixed wing aircraft do not have access. The performance penalties for using helicopters as compared to fixed wing aircraft have been a low maximum cruise speed of approximately 125 mph, a limited range of around 300 miles, and a restricted operational ceiling of less than 15,000 ft.
A M400 Skycar, by utilizing its VTOL capability, has the flexible access of the helicopter. In addition, it has the 350 mph maximum cruise speed, 900 mile range, and 29,000 foot ceiling of a high performance aircraft. The M400 can also climb at more than a vertical mile per minute.
A car that makes highways obsolete maybe more than pie-in-the-sky. The promise remains after many false starts of the skycar. The M400 skycar is a flying car that promises to let you take off from your backyard and fly to your destination at 350 mph, ignoring, if not gazing condescendingly upon, land bound commuters stuck in traffic below. But for now, the M400. sits in a Davis, California, shop, where its promise has both tantalized and frustrated supporters and lent ammunition to detractors for nearly a decade.
To get to this point, its inventor Paul Moller has spent a personal fortune and millions of dollars in investor's money, tackling problems that have daunted aircraft designers for half a century. Vertical takeoff is a relatively minor hurdle. Developing a light weight, low cost, reliable powerplant, computer controls, and a way around the peril of turning an average driver loose in such a craft are more challenging.
The M400 skycar was first put on display in 1991. Its rakish stance caught the. imagination, as did the too-optimistic promise that it would be flying in a year or so. But today, Moller. admits that he underestimated problems, from cash flow to air flow to development time. Most of the development during the 90's involved the engine. Redesigning the rotor, sealing system, and cooling boosted the output by some 50 percent, controls were digitized. Recently, the 2-rotor, 120-hp engines were being developed which are required to produce the predicted performance.
The first demonstration of the M400 itself is intended to take place shortly and is intended to show the vertical takeoff and maneuverability. More difficult full forward flight will be part of a future test program. This demonstration should defray some of the skepticism of engineers who feel the problems of VTOL aircraft remain. Another problem would be of how to manage and utilize the airspace if we have a large number of small flying commuter vehicles.
The ultimate success of the skycar depends on the volume production of engine and airframe to keep cost's low. But that can only happen by eliminating the need for a skilled pilot. GPS can provide a solution to the above problem and can keep individual skycars in a safe corridor. Moller and experts from NASA see such corridors as having the potential to safely carry highway style traffic. This, of course, would require an airspace revolution. "FLYING LIMOUSINES" from airports or "FLYING JEEPS" for the military are more reachable.
3. Automobile Engineering Vol. 2 – Kirpal Singh
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