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back to article FLYING CAR, full hover, fairly quiet, offered to US Marines

Who remembers the "Transformer TX" flying-car project, intended to equip the US Marines with a small four-seat vehicle able to drive about on the ground like a jeep, hover like a helicopter, or fly like a plane? The first team to publicly offer a contending design has now stepped forward. The Tyrannos flying car concept. Credit …

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Joke

It can even be used for Recon missions!

That'd make it a Tyrannos-saw-us, wouldn't it? :D

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Joke

Don't forget

You'd need a pilot named Rex.

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Coat

Recon missions...

You - Coat - Door... NOW.

I can't believe you went there.

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Coat

but when it crashes it will be...

That'd make it a Tyrannos-saw-us-wreck

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Badgers

Depends on pronunciation, surely.

If he spare is in the back, it may simply be a tyre-anus.

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Will Games Workshop sue DARPA for copyright infringement?

Powered armor, 40m rocket-assisted firearms, now a frikkin' landspeeder. All they need is some genetic engineering, and we've got a WH40K Space Marine.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dalen: Will Games Workshop sue DARPA for copyright infringement?

No, but Dyson might

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Yeah right

I'm sure a more US military-esque approach such as giant rocket boosters would not only be more exciting, but be more feasible, cheaper and easier to maintain. Can you imagine 'driving' a vehicle of this size over rough terrain with sand and other large objects of FOD?!

DARPA are a bunch of immensely talented guys and I'm sure this would never "fly" with them!

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Anonymous Coward

It ain't green, but it looks keen...

http://www.thestar.com/news/sciencetech/technology/article/831047--every-commuter-s-fantasy-the-flying-car-lands-in-2011

" The company Terrafugia says it plans to deliver its car-plane, the Transition, to customers by the end of 2011. It recently cleared a major hurdle when the Federal Aviation Administration granted a special weight limit exemption to the Transition."

Military? No. Good enough for the Green Machine? I doubt it. But there's a picture there, and it sure looks like it's flying to me...

And here's the video...

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/yahoocanada/100630/canada/flying_car_a_step_closer_to_reality

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Bronze badge

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

While the idea of a flying car *sounds* good, one quick look at the number of idiots driving cars on the *road* and I shudder at the concept of having them able to *fly* anywhere near my house. Let alone the concept of joyriding Darwin award wannabes.

You'd have a hard time selling me the idea without a decent set of controls over the flights zones the flycar is able to take.

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@Neoc

+1

Bad enough having diamond encrusted iPhone 4's falling from the sky, but worse are the falling bodies of their fule owners.

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Love the concept

I really do and it all seems quite clever, but... it seems to me that the Marines are frequently the ones deployed toward the front. You know, where the blokes working for the other side are prone to shoot at them. If the flying jeep is so light, it can't have much armor and no mention was made as to any countermeasures that might be employed on it. Mind you, a fair portion of pilot training in the military is learning how to shoot the other guy whilst not to getting shot in return. It seems to me that it should at least have an "oh shit!" button that would be available should one of the passengers happen to notice an inbound RPG that isn't automatically detected. Said "oh shit!" button would naturally bypass the imposed limitations on "climb, dive, roll, pitch, accelerate and decelerate" placed for the ease of operation and allow for a full tilt boogey escape which may be automated or not.

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Happy

Armour?

Sounds as though Armour would be too heavy for it? Even so, as a civilian flying car it sounds brilliant! Put my name on the waiting list :)

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Armour?

If I recall correctly, one of the problems with sending a flying car to Afghanistan or Iraq is that it would get shot at. Adding the specified amount of armour should make this a suitable DARPA project.

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Flame

By the time it is finished it will be clone of IL-2

Add the armour, add the armament and it suddenly starts looking like IL-2 aka the flying tank.

We might as well start manufacturing them. The blueprints are widely available so no need to import it from Russia. It should not be a problem to mount new engine and new weapons on it. The original could take off from 300m of dirt track, withstand machine gun, small arms and anything short of a 37mm AA cannon from point blank range for half an hour. It can also fly low enough and fast enough to be difficult for most shoulder launched missiles and its only problem has always been the bombing accuracy.

The accuracy problem is trivial to fix. It was also very easy to fly so making an unmanned version or computer assisted version should not be that difficult.

The reality is that warfare against armed tribes does not require ultra-modern superweapons. WW2 era kit with modern guidance systems grafted on can provide MUCH better value for the money most of the time.

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hardware $ is not the end-all of saving $

"WW2 era kit with modern guidance systems grafted on can provide MUCH better value for the money most of the time."

Keep in mind that some of the $ involved relates to the actual soldiers. You can save money on a $50K kit, instead of spending $100K. Great, but what happens if that results in 50% increased lethality to the your $500K-to-train soldiers?

Not to mention that those pesky soldiers may not fully appreciate accountants saving taxpayer money at the cost to their life & limb.

i.e. there is a trade-off between cheap & efficient-enough vs. cheap & too-dangerous.

An IL-2 may sit somewhere on one extreme and a Raptor on the other.

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Flame

Stinger bait

"In general the sky-Hummer would operate at around 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground, keeping it clear of most normal aircraft" _AND_ making it the perfect Stinger bait.

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MrT
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Agree

only way to avoid would be to fly reeeeeally low at high speed and hope they're not already pointing the missile skyward ready to fire at very short notice - but maybe that needs a bit more skill with the controls.

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Boffin

@Ivan

The first thing I though when I was that remark was that most sensible military craft will be running an awful lot _lower_ than that. Mind you, imagine the fun if you are meandering along in one of these at 100MPH and a flight of fast-jets slip beneath you. Lets see how good the attitude-control works in the jet-wash from a Typhoon or similar!

On the other hand, the entire spec sounds like someone has taken a basic idea, had it thrown back at him as impractical, and he has simply re-submitted it on the basis of doing every single bit of it much better than anyone else does at the moment - lets wait till they build it, and even one item fails to meet the required spec.

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re: stinger baid

"In general the sky-Hummer would operate at around 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground, keeping it clear of most normal aircraft" _AND_ making it the perfect Stinger bait.

not really. most light attack aircraft (British Tornado, American F16 F/A18 Warthog) all run at tree top level (<100 ft over treetops). 1000 to 2000 feet puts it directly in the way.

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FAIL

I call bullpoo

We've heard it all before: some developer comes up with some idea of a super efficient aircraft that on paper looks to outdo anything else out there...

...indeed, on paper. Further into the development process, engine power needs to go up, speeds go down, payload goes down. Oh, and vertical take-offs are not possible at full loads.

I am sure the fans are efficient, but a Robinson R44 helicopter needs just about all of its 245HP to hover in ground effect with full load. And that's 4 small people, not 4 big-ass marines with survival and zap-o-kill equipment.

I doubt it'll go straight up at FL110 as advertised, certainly not fully loaded.

Oh, and that "turbo-charged racecar engine"? Not too many racecar engines I know run on diesel fuel, which is what JP-8 is, just a more refined version suitable for jet engines.

I am not holding my breath.

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MrT
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Diesel racecar?

Audi and Peugeot would beg to differ - Le Mans racers do fine running diesel.

Superchargers (instead of turbos) suit low-revs, high torque applications. Only thing against diesel derivatives is the relative high weight.

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Re: Diesel and JP8

JP8 is closer to kerosene than diesel. See wikipedia or any number of other web sites that describe the differences between various fuels.

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MrT
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Stop

From Wikipedia...

"Jet fuel is very similar to diesel fuel, and in some cases, may be burned in diesel engines."

"Jet fuel is often used in ground support vehicles at airports, instead of diesel. The United States military makes heavy use of JP-8, for instance. However, jet fuel tends to have poor lubricating ability in comparison to diesel, thereby increasing wear on fuel pumps and other related engine parts."

I know that last section ends with [citation needed], but that's the beauty of Wikipedia.

Either way, it's a compression-ignition fuel.

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Anonymous Coward

jet fuel racing

Don't forget the bruaha(sp) last year or the year before with the Toyota NASCAR team getting penalized for having traces of jet fuel in their tanks....

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I would doubt that jet fuel would be helpful in a

gasoline engine. The compression ratios aren't high enough to ignite it. Jet fuel detracts from performance in a gasoline engine. It doesn't burn fast enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Want!

<finds God><starts praying>

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Boffin

A Highly Turbocharged...

...race car engine would more likely want high octaine gasoline rather than JP8.

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Boffin

Engines

The article states that it is *supercharged*, not *turbocharged*. There is a significant difference. A supercharger is generally (1) takes its power from the crankshaft of the engine, using some of the available power to drive an air compressor (2). They tend to operate best at low to medium engine revs, and are very responsive to changes in said revs. A turbocharger, on the other hand, uses waste power (3) from the engine's exhaust to drive a turbine compressor, work best at high revs, and are not very responsive to changes (i.e. turbo-lag). Superchargers work very well on diesels because of their low-rev performance. A great way to get the best out of an engine is to combine the two types - see some of Lancia's rally cars for how to do it!!

Regarding race engines - have a look at the winners of Le Mans for the last few years. Audi and Peugeot have been wiping the floor with every other manufacturer in cars powered by .... yep, diesels.

I do have some problems with the use of a "racecar engine" developing "185hp". Firstly, "racecar engines" tend to be built with a very short rebuild time in mind (less than a couple of races, in some cases). They also tend to fail catastrophically when not maintained properly. Does anyone really want a mission critical vehicle that will fall out of the sky because it wasn't serviced bang on time? Secondly, a "185hp supercharged racecar engine" is either not a racecar engine, just something mildly tweaked, or it is a very small engine (less than 2 litres) tweaked quite heavily. So, either it is a "racecar engine" in the sense that my totally unmodified Corsa used for trackdays and rallies is a "racecar engine", or it underlines that it is a highly stressed piece of kit that needs the very best, very cleanest, conditions for rebuilding it after every 500 or so miles.

Overall, I like the concept, but the engine bit sounds like pie-in-the-sky.

(1) I have recently read about about a company marketing an electrically powered subercharger that can be fitted to any car. I'm saving my pennies!

(2) Unlike turbochargers, there are many types of supercharger compressors.

(3) This is oversimplified, but a turbo makes energy that would otherwise be sent out via the exhaust do some useful work.

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MrT
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Decent off-road performance...

I should hope so, for a flying car...

First thoughts - looks lke a bunch of kids messing with Google SketchUp models.

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Jobs Horns

It still looks like a model aircraft to me...

...and they claim it will do 40mpg. As a model aircraft I believe it but with all that gear and 4 marines, no. What's the date? Oh! I see, must be April first again.

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pretty nice, even if it turns out not to fly

It sounds light years ahead of the Terrafugia thing - almost too good to be true. Hopefully it will get funded. Even if it doesn't work exactly as projected, there's enough interesting technology in there to make it worthwhile.

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Have these guys watched Avatar? (I think they have..)

And in other news :

http://www.terrafugia.com/index.html

A flying car - already flight and road tested!

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Not a very good engine then...

if it only makes 185bhp out of a supercharged race-car engine!

Given that BMW can get 150bhp out of a 2-litre *diesel* turbo (which still does 60mpg), Suzuki can get over 200bhp out of 1.3-litre bike engine, and Renault F1 engines went up to about 1300bhp from a 1.5-litre turbo

I reckon you got the digits in the wrong order - a US race car engine would make 851bhp with a s/c, although it would be 6-litres-plus and weight about a tonne...

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Er, in the 90s maybe

The 2010 320d is 181 bhp :p

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Silver badge

Or..

It could just be a very small capacity engine.

The trouble with the very high horsepowers you quote is a reductions in engine life( the Renault engine in 1300HP qualy trim might last qualifying, just)

You need reliability first and foremost, then horsepower, then weight. 185 may be conservative, but its very reliable, and probably light.

And you can get 500hp out of a 1300 Hyabusa engine with a turbo.

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MrT
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Needs light weight and compact dimensions for this design

I'd go with something like the Hyabusa unit - bike engines can generate a lot of power, even if they are a bit peaky - they also last a bit longer than the typical very-high-tune racer. They've been used in pocket-rocket racing cars like Westfield for ages now.

If it has to be compression ignition (diesel) because of the fuel, then something like the latest 1.3CDTi units in supermini/small family categories might be a goer. A remap would be needed from what's in the average Corsa, but even my 1.9CDTi Vectra's got 194bhp after a BSR remap so it's within reach to get 185bhp from something smaller (BSR claim 185bhp minimum, but the latest updates have improved that).

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Well

Flying cars? Thats old hat, we were meant to have them in the 60's. And the 70's. And the 80's. And the 90's. And every other decade since then! I will see it, when I believe it!

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Looks like there will be one next year.

http://terrafugia.com/

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Screw the car

i would like the jet pack style flying thing from page 2 :D

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Boffin

:-p I've got one matey

More or less... and had a great flight over sunny Ipswich last saturday.

u wanna get yerself a nice wee paramotor.

all terrain ? sure - I can even take off in 2 feet of snow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgnHQQ9CNh8

fits in the boot of the car.

stu

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Happy

AC@09:13

Fewer people are certified to fly a jet (actually its normally a rocket) pack than have landed on the Moon. Sean Connery isn't one of them.

Max flight time is c15mins, there's no parachute and AFAIK the 1960's era had no autohover to throttle down to compensate for the (rapidly) falling mass, which must have made learning to fly it in the first place quite interesting.

The lunar landing simulator built by Armadillo Aerospace (and the guy behind Castle Wolfstein 3d) is rather safer, lasts longer and runs on Linux, but I'm not sure it's available for er private test flights.

Just remember. You break it. You buy it.

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@stu 4

Watched video.

Part terrifying, part awesome. Such a light and compact rig as well.

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Flying CAR

Moaning about lack of armor would indicate that what you want is not so much a flying car, as a flying tank. Probably just need to beef up the air-frame (And horse-power) a bit, it's already made from composites. Might be pretty easy to make the floor-pan able to withstand small-arms fire.

I hope this thing makes it to production, and also, that the price stays high enough so that the average car driver around my way never EVER get their hands on one. Now, what I want DARPA to work on next, would be a hover-bike. Perhaps starting with a Y2K, and adding some fans to that...

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"half as loud"

I bet that means half the noise power - 3dB down - which is barely noticeable to our logarithmic ears...

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Very impressive systems thinking, if it works.

And what a big if that is.

The duct thing sounds like an application of the "ejector" principle, a bit like the Dyson air mover, treating the shroud as not just a pit of safety screening to stop meatsacks walking into the props but a subtle integral part of the airflow management.

This problem was so enormously tricky and complex that only by considering *everything* working together would it be solved in anything like an affordable way. That includes the whole making a chopper handle with near car like controls.

Thumbs up if it works.

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Joke

but..

does it have woofers and an ipod dock? Add a passenger seat mirror for the missus and this might fly off the shelves in no time ;)

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Happy

Collision avoidance

Better than a beacon (or as well as) would be to broadcast the flight path of each car. You could then project other flying-car's paths onto the heads-up. Simple.

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Flarm

FLARM does something similar. It sends out your GPS position and listens for other units doing the same, and beeps at you if you think you're at risk of hitting someone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLARM

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