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Transportation Technology

BiPod Flying Car Makes (Short) Test Flights 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-your-lawsuit-from-apple-over-the-name dept.
Zothecula writes "The team at Scaled Composites pulled out all the stops to realize the final design of the company's founder and former CTO, Burt Rutan, ahead of his retirement in April earlier this year. In just four months, the Scaled Composites team went from beginning the preliminary design to the first flight of the 'BiPod,' a hybrid gasoline-electric flying car that grew out of a program to develop a rapid, low-cost electric test bed using as many off-the-shelf components as possible."
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BiPod Flying Car Makes (Short) Test Flights

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  • Not a flying car (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:24AM (#36820198)

    Needs a runway to take off...

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      I don't think it's quite how the definition works. Maybe not a flying car because it's not a frigging car would be better.

      Just a light plane with detachable wings.

      • by Woek (161635)

        It will be road-legal, with powered wheels, safe to drive on a highway. That's what sets it apart from a light plane

        • by jklovanc (1603149)

          Aircraft have to be light to fly. Ground vehicles carry extra weight to handle impact by other vehicles. I'd like to see how they are going to incorporate bumpers, crumple zones, airbags, side impact protection, etc that make a vehicle safe on the road. Any vehicle light enough to be used as an aircraft would be weak enough to get a one star crash rating. I would like to see what would happen to a BiPod if it was hit head on by a Suburban doing 60 miles an hour.

          In fact the more I look at the vehicle the mor

          • by DrData99 (916924)

            Motorcycles do not have bumpers and do really poorly being hit head on by a Suburban at 60 MPH. (And in reality few autos with bumpers, air bags, crush zones, etc will do really well hitting a Suburban at that speed).

            Perhaps you don't recall that cars didn't have all this safety equipment as recently as 30 years ago. The reason that early imports got great fuel economy was that they were really light-the original Honda Civic was powered by the 750cc motorcycle engine and could not likely pass any modern cra

            • by jandrese (485)
              Motorcycles are more or less grandfathered in at this point. They would never get approval if they were invented today.
              • I honestly think that Automobiles would not get approval if they were invented today.
              • by thegarbz (1787294)

                Hey I have a business proposition for you. I have invented a new piece of technology.

                - It's a vehicle of sorts to carry people.
                - It is going to require massive amounts of initial outlay from the government. They will need to dedicate entire departments to maintaining the very roads these vehicles will run on.
                - It will be very simple to use so almost everyone can have one.
                - It will allow people to travel at high speed in opposite directions only 3m apart from each other with no safety barrier between them.
                -

          • A flying car doesn't drive on roads period. A flying car should do vertical liftoffs from your driveway and do vertical landings in the parking lot. And it should be cheap. Like under $40k cheap. Anything else is an airplane.
            • by thegarbz (1787294)

              A flying car doesn't drive on roads period. A flying car should do vertical liftoffs from your driveway and do vertical landings in the parking lot. And it should be cheap. Like under $40k cheap. Anything else is an airplane.

              I don't think you quite understand what those words mean:

              car - automobile - a road vehicle
              airplane - powered flying vehicle

              A VTOL plane is still a plane, and a vehicle which isn't allowed to drive on the roads sure as hell isn't a car.

              • A flying car is not a car that also flies. A flying car is a replacement for the car that flies. The same idea was used for the horseless carriage. The horseless carriage was a replacement for the horse and buggy that didn't use a horse. Trains and boats existed before the invention of the automobile. They didn't use horses and they transported people around. But they were not a replacement for the horse and buggy. A flying car that drives around on roads misses the entire point. To be a replacement for an
          • I would like to see what would happen to a BiPod if it was hit head on by a Suburban doing 60 miles an hour.

            And.... I would like to see what happens to a Suburban when it takes a BiPod through the windshield at 200+mph.

            I don't think any car-plane hybrid is intended to be a rush-hour commuter on the local freeway. Certainly, if I had one, it's road capabilities would just be to allow me to hangar it at home or wherever I am staying away from home, instead of needing to tie-down at the airport. In urban destinations, you'd probably still tie down at the airport and rent a car.

            • by jklovanc (1603149)

              I one is hangering the vehicle at home then it means that the vehicle will be driving on roads with other vehicles. A 60mph head on collision is possible if both vehicles are moving at 30 mph in opposite directions; a situation on many residential streets.

              If a BiPod is flying at 200+mph it is illegal and unsafe to be 4 feet from the ground.

              • Head on collisions are also illegal and unsafe, whereas travel by motorcycle (or bicycle) on roads with cars is legal, unsafe, and far less versatile than a flying vehicle.

                • by jklovanc (1603149)

                  Head on collisions are not illegal in that, unless deliberate, they are considered accidents. Your example if a 200+MPH BiPod striking a Suburban is irrelevant as it is illegal for a BiPod pilot to put the vehicle in that situation. The issue is safety standards. The safety standards for four wheeled vehicles are different than motorcycles (or bicycles). For example, seat belts are not required on a motorcycle yet they are required on a four wheeled vehicles.

                  • Setting a safety standard on aircraft has not yet managed to keep them all from falling out of the sky.

                    • by jklovanc (1603149)

                      Safety standards do not prevent accidents. They exist so that when an accident occurs injury and death are minimized. Not I said minimized and not eliminated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GooberToo (74388)

      One has nothing to do with the other. The fact you think it does is extremely weird.

      With your completely insane and illogical definition, many helicopters are not helicopters. Yes, that's right, when many helicopters are fully loaded, operate at high altitude, or operate in hot/humid environments,they too require a runway for take off. Here is a training video so you can see what it looks like. [youtube.com] Hmmm. Very airplane-like. So its settled - helicopters are no longer helicopters. That's for enlightening us.

    • by tgd (2822)

      That means its not a helicopter car.

      Derp.

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        "Derp", is right. The fact this isn't obvious is pretty sad.

        Translation for others like you who have learning disabilities. The need for a runway has nothing to do with anything. Wow, that sounds like I've heard it before. Perhaps you have a reading comprehension issues too.

        Holy shit slashdot has fallen.

  • by cdxta (1170917) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:26AM (#36820214)
    apple lawsuit over name in 3...2...?
    • by uofitorn (804157)
      Not to mention all the lawsuits bought by those not properly diagnosed with subluxation prior to their first flight/drive.bought
      • by cvtan (752695)
        I looked up subluxation and this is scary stuff:

        "If you wait until your body sends out pain or other clear signals, it may too late. You need to stop subluxations before they have a chance to do major damage and before they become difficult to correct. You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life."

        I haven't had an adjustment since I had my neck wrenched around as a small child. Not fun and didn't fix anything.

        • by Rennt (582550)
          I've heard this before...

          You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life. - practitioner alternative of medicine.

          Not fun and didn't fix anything. - you, me and qualified medical professionals.
        • I looked up subluxation and this is scary stuff:

          "If you wait until your body sends out pain or other clear signals, it may too late. You need to stop subluxations before they have a chance to do major damage and before they become difficult to correct. You -- and your entire family -- need to visit a chiropractor regularly to make sure you can all lead a healthy, subluxation-free life."

          I haven't had an adjustment since I had my neck wrenched around as a small child. Not fun and didn't fix anything.

          Wow what a coincidence. I looked up Quackery. "Quackery is a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices."

    • by rossdee (243626)

      I doubt it. The term 'bipod' has been in use for over a century, as a 2 legged mount for a rifle or light machine gun.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:45AM (#36820308)

    * Your invention requires pilots to attach the wings themselves every time they want to fly, which must require the help of a friend or two,
    * Your plane shuts the pilot in a separate compartment from the only passenger seat,
    * They have to trade seats when the pilot wants to switch from flying to driving (or vice versa),
    * The passenger has no ability to take the controls in an emergency,
    * It looks odd in the air and downright silly on the road,
    * And you picked a gimmicky pop-culture-based name that will piss off a major corporation!

    You must be an engineer! Welcome to Slashdot!

    • Congratulations for pointing out the obvious. Certainly these things could never have occurred to the designers without your aid! You can now rest assured that you've set them on the right path. They will surely drop everything now and start from scratch, in large part due to the astute observations of slashdotters such as yourself.

      Alternatively you missed the part of TFS where they pointed out that this was a test platform.

      I'll let you use your awesome observational and deductive skills to determine which

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        This is slashdot. He must state the obvious so it allows him to feel smart. Life likely reminds him to the contrary on a daily basis.

    • by Lando (9348)

      Yeah, probably a bad idea to have your enemy help attach the wings, grin.

    • Your plane shuts the pilot in a separate compartment from the only passenger seat,

      This is a plus! I wish my car had this feature.

  • Company Motto: "FEEL the stability of a BiPod!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why does everyone jump on that thing to diss it? It's not a commercial project, it's a technology test bed. It can't be overpriced, because it won't be sold. It won't go on the roads. It's a cool project from a guy who had the means to kick it off before retiring. What the hell is wrong with you all, thought this was a geek site. Building a convertible road/flying machine in whatever form is as geeky a project as you can get...

    • We see it here all the time. It's a subtle manifestation of envy, for none of the detractors have taken the initiative to do it themselves. When you can't do something cool, the next best thing is to cut down those who can.

  • by sosume (680416)

    The Human CentBiPod!!

  • I actually read one of the links (I know, I know...) and saw some (to my non-professional engineer eyes) great or at least interesting ideas.

    Like having the "left seat" have flying controls and the "right seat" have the driving controls. Sure, as other posters pointed out, you can't take over in an emergency but I would imagine (since I don't fly a plane) it must make the controls a lot easier to design and use. I wonder why they didn't put the driving controls on the left side since I presume they would

  • I think the big problem is that in the USA, you will need to build flying Humvees to get this idea accepted. Anything smaller will be seen as an insult to American integrity, and not safe on the roads (because everybody else believes you need a 4x4 offroad capable 8 litre vehicle to buy a pint of milk from the local shops).

    Apart from the fact that the two concepts (car, plane) just don't work together that well really. A bit of a laugh for folk with more money than sense to try to develop, but until we get

    • I think the big problem is that in the USA, you will need to build flying Humvees to get this idea accepted. Anything smaller will be seen as an insult to American integrity, and not safe on the roads

      Way ahead of you: DARPA's Flying humvee [wired.com]

  • I wish journalists would learn the difference between a flying car and a street-legal airplane.

    • by Geminii (954348)
      "Street-legal airplane" doesn't sell papers or be online Googlebait for zillions of cybertards lookin' fer flyin' carz.
  • This sounds like a similar concept to the Terrafugia Transition, which is also advertised as a "roadable aircraft." The Transition has made a few appearances on Slashdot in the past. Apparently the Transition uses a CVT to transmit internal combustion engine power to the wheels, so it's not a hybrid like Rutan's one in TFA.

    Terrafugia's homepage at www.terrafugia.com

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