This year’s EAA AirVenture started out cloudy, cool and gloomy, but the weather soon matched the crowd’s upbeat outlook and the entire week was marked by comfortable low humidity and moderate temperatures.
One of the most eagerly anticipated demonstrations at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show is the first publicly planned flight of the Terrafugia Transition flying car. “This is the first public display of the Transition doing its thing,” said Richard Gersh, vice president of business development for Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia, although the company did host an invitation-only flight demo at Lawrence Airport near Boston last October.
Terrafugia, the developer of the Transition roadable airplane, says it is designing a hybrid electric/fossil-fuel-powered flying car in the form of a tiltrotor. The TF-X would use electric drive on the ground and for power assist on takeoff. After reaching cruise, the twin tiltrotor pods would fold their propellers flat while a rear-mounted engine-driven shrouded fan would provide propulsion.
Growing up, James Bond movies were my favorites, and high among them was The Man With the Golden Gun. I don’t remember when I first saw it, but what stuck most in my impressionable young mind was a car. No, not one of Bond’s tricked-out sports cars with ejection seats or retractable machine guns, but a rather unlikely object of male desire, an AMC Matador.
Terrafugia is planning to build its new aircraft/auto hybrid, the Transition, in a new facility in Woburn, Mass. The company has said it is setting up for low-volume production of the roadable light sport aircraft as early as late 2011. Earlier this year, the company got approval from the FAA to increase the vehicle’s maximum takeoff weight by 110 pounds over the 1,320-pound maximum takeoff weight for light sport aircraft.
The National Business Aviation Association presents Pilot Safety Awards each year to member-company pilots with exemplary safety records. To be eligible for an award, a pilot must have flown corporate aircraft 1,500 hours without an accident, but the actual number of safe hours flown by many of the top pilots comes close to 30,000 hours.
Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth, Texas, and Urban Aeronautics based near Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport will unveil today the X-Hawk, an innovative vertical-lift aircraft that could create a new class of civil and military powered-lift vehicles. A full-scale mock-up of the twin-turboshaft X-Hawk is on display in Bell Helicopter’s aircraft covered aircraft static display (No. OE1, next to the Bell and Bell Boeing chalets).
If giant airshows such as Paris, Farnborough, Asian Aerospace and Dubai–even NBAA– represent business aviation’s economic engine, then EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., (July 25 to July 31) measures the pulse of flying’s human side.