There were few spectacular announcements of radical new aircraft at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show, held July 27 through August 3, but the popular event was well attended, the crowds enjoyed the first-ever appearance of a U.S. military jet aerobatic team–the Air Force Thunderbirds–and there were plenty of exciting attractions.
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced development unit is building an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air vehicle under a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to demonstrate a cargo UAV capable of carrying interchangeable mission payloads.
First-time NBAA exhibitors Aviation Partners Group (APG) of Punta Gorda, Florida, and Oma Sud of Capua, Italy and Miami, are presenting here at NBAA 2013 the Oma Sud Skycar (B. No. N409). Designed and developed in Italy, the five-place, all-metal piston twin-engine Skycar is both FAA and EASA certified. Designed for missions ranging from executive transport to cargo hauling and patrol work, the aircraft is currently receiving enhancements including air-conditioning, composite three-bladed propellers, electronic ignition and tuned exhaust system.
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.