THIS BLOG HAS MOVED!

Head over to the working prototype wikiprojects.net for more updates and projects!

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Some changes now, more to come.

This Blog is a work in progress right now.
I will be making some changes over the next few weeks while I test and try to find what works best.
For now, the major change to the blog you should be aware of is the complete change of hosting location and name change to reflect the intention of the website.
The first change is the name, WikiProjects more accurately reflects the intention of this web site and blog.
The second change will be the domain name. I have a mirror blog hosted on Tumblr too, and I am currently deciding which blog site is best to use in the interim while I finalise details for the new website.

Thanks for reading!
-Jason

of course, we are speaking hypothetically here…

My idea for a PVTOL, if I were so bold as to divulge, would be much like a cross between a quad bike and the Martin Jetpack.

I love the Martin Jetpack for many reasons, the best reason being that it perfectly proves the possibility of the PVTOL.
I mean, just look at this bad boy!

The Martin Jetpack

The martin Jetpack

As this beautifull piece of engineering demonstrates so eloquently, all you really need to do is spend a few years on the drawing board before spending your money on a prototype. Then, when you do spend your money, build it from the ground up!

For those who are too lazy to investigate this weapon at a depth greater than this blog post; the Martin Jetpack consists of a 2liter, 4 cylinder, 150kw custom designed and built gasoline engine with a maximum engine speed of 6000rpm. This powerplant is then directly attached to 2 fixed ducted fans made from carbon kevlar composite, a common theme throughout the entire design.
Flight control is by way of 2 joysticks, one that controls engine speed (and subsequently altitude) and the other directly controls the fan fins (not sure what else to call them!) to direct the air flow from the ducted fans.

http://www.martinjetpack.com/technical-information.aspx
It’s all there if you need more than that.

So say you take the successful components and materials used here, and expand on them to make a more practical vehicle. Something with more range, speed, stability, comfort and computer intervention with a slightly more powerfull engine and a total of 4 fans instead of 2. Picture all this, but with the engine placement and riding position of a sports/touring motorcycle.

Add in some tech such as short range sonar/radar, auto pilot and GPS navigation, perhaps even some climate control, cup holders and mp3 player and you got yourself a sweet ass ride!

bike thing

Doesn't fly = No friends.

like this thing, only with ducted fans where the wheels would be, and more friends.

-Jason.

PVTOL: Phase 1

Just a few thoughts while I wait for for my horribly slow internet connection to load 9gag.

I have noticed that there is a pattern with all the previous attempts to design and produce the ole flying car. Despite a massive interest in the end product and the potential market, the flying car as it has been implemented in the past has been expected to perform like a regular car half of the time. This horrible idea has meant that the flying car never really took off (mind the pun).

The few that appeared to have succeeded (minus a few fatal flaws) have been those that forsake general road use for superior airborne maneuverability and performance. It seems to me that the last, and least important issue to overcome is technical, because if you set out to design a “flying car” that’s pretty much all you end up with. Just a car with wings.

This brings me to the next point, all of the nicest and most practical cars you see on the road today have one great big similarity; a complete lack of wings! If you have a look at some of the flying cars that do, its pretty obvious why most automobile companies opt to leave wings out of the design process. I dont want to have to stress out that a run away trolley in a shopping center car park (that I had to drive too because it was closer than the nearest air strip was) will damage one of my many wings folded up or akwardly positioned so I can fit into a single lane on the road. Apart from the list of problems associated with carrying wings around while you search for an air strip, the primary issue is that this type of vehicle doesn’t save time in the long run. It may take you 90minutes to drive to work now, but along with the purchase of one of these ‘car-plane’ vehicles is the need for at least a quarter mile of straight flat surface to land the thing on, and thats without the deadly concern of overhead power-lines and trees. Thus, they fail.

VTOL = ultimate high five vehicle (it actually means Vertical Take Off & Landing).

The Moller sky car is an excellent example of a great concept that overcomes the many woes of fixed wing flight as a requisite for transport.

In a nut shell, the Moller sky car consisted of a sleek aerodynamic 2 seater frame with ducted fans at each corner (where the wheels should be). These ducted fans could be rotated to point forward and backwards to maneuver the vehicle forward and backwards, the fans are each directly driven by rotary engines.

Pros:

Looks the business, probably pulls chicks.

can take off and land without the hastle of runways

available in red

2 seater

The Moller sky car at a glance (and this is before I read into the details of the vehicle in depth) looks great and marketable. So why has it been sitting on the shelf for the last few years?

I have some theories. Have you ever seen the videos where its hovering a few feet off the ground? Noisy and unstable is a good summary. I also suspect that due to the choice of power plants for each of the engines that this thing is not the easiest aircraft to fly, let alone take off, maneuver and land. The centrifuge of the fans would be likely to make quick changes of direction quite difficult as well. If its more difficult it takes more power to do, more power means more weight on board, more weight means you need more power to lift.

A good side note to mention here is that when you add, say, 15kg to the over all weight of the craft for what ever reason it means that you need to compromise on another area (take weight out somewhere else) OR re design the entire vehicle from the ground up again.
This complete re-design can be avoided if you can make good weight estimates from the start (set a weight budget based on the vehicle purpose, available power, passengers/cargo weight and a margin for additions) and stick to the original design plan.
This also means that the original design plan needs to be comprehensive, and I mean comprehensive. You don’t want to even think about touching the tools or gluing paper to balsa wood until you know how much the entire thing is going to weigh. Otherwise you end up stalled whilst prototyping your grand design because you have a weight problem that means your engine(s) need an extra 500 horsepower or so.

The Moller sky car is currently grounded due to financial issues in the r&d process. Although I haven’t spoken to the build team directly, its safe enough to use this as a good example. It looks like the problem here is that the design process wasn’t finished before prototyping began.

So in summary, the flying car is a contradiction. It cannot be both a car and an air craft without major design issues concerning practicality.

What we can do instead is look at the bigger picture here, we want to be able to fly to and from our destinations because it will save us time. This means that in order for this new type of vehicle to be a success it must completely forsake existing infrastructure (roads, runways and garages as we know them) and truly create a niche of its own.

We should no longer think of this project as a “flying car” but as a Personal Vertical Take Off & Landing vehicle, the PVTOL! any sexier suggestions would be greatly appreciated too.

The concept of the PVTOL is still not exactly revolutionary, which is to be expected from a blog writer with no design or engineering experience to speak of, but it is a good and much more interesting starting point for a project such as this.

My loose plan from here will be to investigate alternatives and smaller personal aircrafts currently available (or in development) for further inspiration. I have a vision that the end result will look like a Frankenstein’s monster of ideas and technology robbed from the corpses of previous projects; some kind of super hybrid of awesomeness and high five opportunities!

-Jason

Let’s break the ice with something fun

I have this idea, check it out, for a flying car.

I know I know, the flying car, its been done. ‘Stop wasting my time with this old news’ I hear you sigh collectively. It’s true, the flying car has been a concept for the last 100 years. There have been plenty of ideas about how to overcome the many issues of making a car (as we know it) fly.

Before I go on, I should mention here that the internet is littered with the evidence of failed flying car projects. I will list these projects and links during my lunch break tomorrow or in a slightly ironic location the train during my daily commute.

Lets set the brief for this particular pipedream:

The flying car should have all the functionality of a Toyota Corolla, only with the ability to fly to work then stop in for milk on the way home.
4 seats, total passenger and cargo weight of 250kg (mum and dad and 2 kids)
Price point of less than $200k (base model)
Safe enough for the average idiot to “drive”.
The flying car needs be practical enough that it can use conventional roads and infrastructure (albeit with an acceptable level of compromise due to the overwhelming awesomeness factor.)
Range of 600km (370miles) at cruising speed of, oh lets just say for now, 250km/h (155mph) measured with payload of 100kg passenger and cargo.
choice of colours.
Must pull chicks.
I have had a brief look at the ole flying car a few times in the last few years, but never set out to build one myself, so here goes.

As stated in the rules, the unit cost is $200,000.00 (AU or US it hardly makes a difference these days) each. So in order for this entire project to be feasible financially I expect we will need to spend about 4 million dollars on R&D to get this badboy to the production ready concept vehicle. It’s probably safe enough to expect to pre-sell about 400 units secured with 5,000 deposits, thus having 2 million in capital to set up the production line and start filling orders!

Yep, this idea has all the hallmarks of a pipedream.

I think the place to begin is the weight of the bare essentials, then look at the peak power needed to lift the maximum payload of 250kg.
From there we will look at some designs (any sketches are more than welcome!) and flight controls.
Flight controls, I have to assume, for something like this will be somewhere between a Nintendo Wii and an F22 raptor in complexity. Again, any assistance or direction from readers will be greatly appreciated.

I have just a few comments before I begin scouring the internet and talking to aerospace engineering and industrial design students.
I think the fatal flaw of the flying car concept is the target market. Giant sacks of meat and bone at the controls really do tarnish what is otherwise a great idea. For example, if we were not considerably affected by the effects of cold or high speed collisions then the entire design would save considerable weight. Heck, if the vehicle didn’t need to carry its occupants at all there would be a city in the clouds by now.
Unfortunately, the rules clearly state a payload of 250kg passenger/cargo. I will have to approach this one with a fair amount of humor and unflinching certainty if I am to theoretically succeed.

If it gets boring though, I will take a detour and aim for a super light and bare bones flying motorcycle instead. 🙂

-Jason