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Plane Driven earned interest at AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 with its PD-1 roadable Glasair Sportsman and now says it will continue developmental research and design with a new test version, the evolving PD-X. The PD-1 vehicle matched a Sportsman with oversized wheels and disk brakes at each leg, plus fold-back wings and fold-in stabilizer sections. Thrust in the air was provided by the aircraft’s normal propulsion unit (Lycoming, plus propeller). A second engine was carried below the fuselage at the center of gravity to drive the main gear’s wheels on the road. But before heading to the road, the main gear and engine would slide along rails to the back of the fuselage for vastly improved road handling. The PD-X aims to refine that design and lead to a final version to be made available for sale.
In the PD-1, the second engine puts power to the wheels through an automatic transmission that includes a reverse gear. The vehicle’s designers hope the evolution that is the PD-X will ultimately provide a practical alternative for pilots grounded by weather — provided that weather is rear-wheel-drive friendly.