Plane Driven's "Roadable" Glasair

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The PD-1 combines a modified Glasair Sportsman with a road-worthy trike undercarriage driven by a separate engine; it has flown and is expected to arrive this week at AirVenture Oshkosh 2010, according to its developers. The design combines the Sportsman GS-2 with a kit that incorporates an auxiliary external drive pod below the aircraft, between two large wheels and behind an oversized nosewheel. Plane Driven says the drive's location maintains the aircraft's original center of gravity. A streamlined pod helps minimize the aerodynamic impact of carrying one inert engine in flight. That engine is an 80-horsepower, 4-cycle, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled powerplant fueled by a separate gas tank. It's attached to an automatic transmission with a reverse gear. The weight of the kit is yet to be announced and it's not clear if the prototype vehicle is currently street-legal. The vehicle's developers say that, as of July 21, the Plane Driven prototype has flown, and they've offered proof.

For road travel, the experimental aircraft's wings would fold back (so that their span stretches toward the tail) and rotate (so that their chord line is perpendicular to the ground). At the tail, hinges allow the stabilizer tips to fold inward. In the cockpit, "controls are quickly snapped into place," according to the vehicle's developers. The vehicle's website says the concept was founded by Trey Johnson. According to the site, the vehicle is meant to provide pilots with an option to continue travel during periods of inclement weather. "Fly above the traffic, drive through the weather," is the credo. According to its developers, on the ground the vehicle can average about 25 miles per gallon, drawing fuel from its five-gallon gas tank. To see the vehicle perform a flyby, click here.