Feeds

SpaceShipOne designer produces hybrid flying car

Famous engineer Burt Rutan's swan song

High performance access to file storage

Burt Rutan, the famous engineer behind the Ansari X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne and many other amazing aircraft, has produced a hybrid-electric aeroplane which can also be driven on roads as his final design before retirement.

The BiPod features twin fuselages equipped with electrically driven wheels and propellers (though the latter have yet to be fitted). The batteries powering the craft's propulsion and systems are kept topped up by two small internal-combustion engines, one in each fuselage. The batteries hold enough power for two landing attempts should the BiPod suffer an engine failure in flight, and also furnish extra power for takeoff.

Here's a slideshow with pictures of the BiPod, as well as other aircraft Rutan worked on during his long career at his company Scaled Composites – now a subsidiary of defence mammoth Northrop Grumman.

Thus far the BiPod doesn't have its propellers, but it has made test hops from the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Scaled Composites' main base. In these tests the BiPod got up to speed using its driving wheels.

For road use, the BiPod's wings are removed and stowed between the two fuselages. One cockpit has road controls, and the other has flight ones.

As an aircraft the BiPod is expected to cruise at 200mph for a range of 500+ miles, or at 100mph for 750+ miles. On the road it will have plug-in hybrid performance: it can go 35 miles on batteries alone or 800 using engines, and "highway speeds" will be achievable. The machine can fit into a decent-sized garage, as it is 7' 11" wide with its wings stowed.

Scaled says the BiPod was developed in a crash effort in order to get it finished in time for Rutan's retirement from the company he founded – and also to give some of the firm's young engineers a chance to work with him before he departed. The BiPod is now being publicly shown off in order to gauge the level of interest in it as, until now, selling flying cars is not the sort of business Scaled (or Northrop) has been interested in. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.