Is retirement over for Burt Rutan
? There is an old saying about farmers - you can take the farmer out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the farmer. Seems you can't take the inventor out of Burt Rutan either. It seems that the last design Burt Rutan did was SpaceShip One back in the year 2000 - from then on he turned design work over to the younger engineers working at Scaled Composites. But nagging at the back of his mind was the idea that there was still one more design
left in his portfolio. And President Obama must be proud of this last Burt Rutan design - a hybrid powered flying car! So, here we go again with an incredible design from a very fruitful mind! What is it - the BiPod - of course! While most people associate Burt Rutan aircraft with his design efforts, a flying car is not far afield from the love of the incredible designs of Burt Rutan airplanes. One concern Burt Rutan
has is the reliance of the new generation of designers on computer aided design (CAD) computer programs. Rutan feels that using CAD slows down the design process, so Burt Rutan insisted the engineers use paper, pencil and slide rules to create paper design drawings of the NiPod flying car.
With an almost 32 foot wingspan, the twin boom fuselage and twin pusher props, the 2 place design (pilot in the right boom, passenger in the left) all fiberglass design leaves one in awe. Each 32" propeller is powered by a 20 horsepower electric motor weighing a mere 6 punds powered by 16 lithium ion phosphate batteries. Each battery has 24 cells, and they are charged by a 4 stroke motorcycle engine.
With a gross takeoff weight of just 1,430 pounds Burt Rutan figures it can fly at 197 mph at 12,000 feet for a range of 760 miles! When configured as an automobile the wings are folded and the rear wheels are powered by electric motors, giving it a range of 35 miles city and 820 miles highway at 65 mph. The BiPod should take off and land in 400 feet, and made a short ground effect test flight last April. In a recent interview Burt Rutan said "When I left Mojave, I left all but three pieces of furniture there - and one of them was my drafting board... hey, I've made a design a year since 1973," he said. "Do you expect me to stop now? Remember, you don't hear about my designs until they've flown." So, is Burt Rutan
really retired, or will we see at least one more Burt Rutan aircraft or Burt Rutan airplane? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7
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