Feeds

FLYING CAR, full hover, fairly quiet, offered to US Marines

Nippy VTOL hatchback gets 19 mpg in flight

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Who remembers the "Transformer TX" flying-car project, intended to equip the US Marines with a small four-seat vehicle able to drive about on the ground like a jeep, hover like a helicopter, or fly like a plane? The first team to publicly offer a contending design has now stepped forward.

The Tyrannos flying car concept. Credit: Logi Aerospace

Is it a car? Is it a plane? Is it a helicopter? I think we all know the answer

That design is the "Tyrannos" from Logi Aerospace, allied with other companies and organisations including the South West Research Institute and Californian electric-vehicle firm ZAP.

The Tyrannos is nominally intended to provide Marines with the ability to leapfrog over troublesome roadside bombs, mines, and ambushes while remaining able to drive on the ground as they normally might. However, it promises to be much quieter than ordinary helicopters in use and far easier to fly and maintain.

If the Tyrannos can do all its makers claim, it really does have the potential to become the flying car for everyman.

By now, regular readers of Reg sky-car coverage — familiar as you are with the limits of ducted fans, wings, batteries, and other relevant technologies — will be wondering how all this can be done.

Is there, perhaps, a miraculous new power source or energy-storage method? No: the Tyrannos' prime mover will be a 185-horsepower supercharged racecar engine, not even a gas turbine (which would offer more poke for weight but also shorter life, more cost, added maintenance burden, and a lot of noise). There is a hybrid-electric transmission, but nothing outrageous in the way of batteries, as required in some all-electric designs.

Despite this limited amount of power, the Tyrannos design — as you can see in the pictures — includes quite limited amounts of thrust-disc area. Normally such small lift discs would require vast, brutal amounts of power to lift an aircraft vertically into the sky. But somehow, in the Tyrannos, they don't. Why?

Here we come to the vehicle's main special sauce. The Tyrannos doesn't have ordinary ducted fans, but special "shrouded propellers" developed by engineer Rob Bulaga at his firm Trek Aerospace, also part of the design alliance.

The idea of a shrouded prop is that the duct wrapped around it is not merely an inactive doughnut. Rather, as air is sucked in at the top for a vertical takeoff, a stream flow develops both on the inside and the outside of the duct, which then acts as though it were a wing cutting through stationary air to develop lift — even though it is for the moment stationary with respect to the ground. This acts to supplement the thrust produced by the downward-pointing fans.

According to Bulaga, his ring-wings actually deliver half the lift during takeoff, rather than 10 per cent at most as is common among ducted-fan systems. Thus you only need half as much thrust disc area as a helicopter does to lift the same weight. Smaller props are lighter, which in turn means that the electric motors need less juice to spin them and thus are themselves lighter. This means in turn that the craft's whole structure can be lighter, as well.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.