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Carplane Developers Criticize BiPod...

...and Burt responds

Steve Schapiro, Senior Editor, Sport Aviation

Rendering of the Carplane showing it in flying and driving configurations.

August 11, 2011 – In response to our story in AirVenture Today about Scaled Composites Model 367 BiPod, a German government-sponsored aviation firm, Carplane GmbH, provided its analysis of the latest Burt Rutan design. The Carplane is a competing roadable aircraft being developed at the Research Airport in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany.

The study’s main question is about the storage of the BiPod’s wings, as it relates to ground clearance and the impact on road-mode aerodynamics. The analysis argues the BiPod in driving configuration would have significant frontal wind resistance, and in flying configuration, it calls the aircraft “too slippery,” saying its 197-mph cruise speed would “eliminate many hobby-flyers” since it would not meet LSA airspeed restrictions.

When asked for his thoughts on the Carplane analysis, Burt said, “I am breaking my rule here by paying any attention to his analysis - I usually have a rule to comment only on things that are flying, not someone's untested concept.” 

Burt said the analysis made “many wrong observations based on poor measurements of photos or graphics,” adding, “Gee, he complains that we have too much drag as a car but not enough drag as an airplane!”

The Carplane has a twin fuselage similar to Rutan’s Bipod, and its automatic wing extension system that the company claims will convert between modes in 15 seconds is reminiscent of Terrafugia’s Transition. According to Carplane’s website, it has been under construction since 2008, and uses electric motors in driving mode and a piston engine for extended range and in flight.

To read Carplane’s analysis and Burt’s full response, log onto EAA’s new forums website. For more information, click here.


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