There aren’t enough flying cars out there, but a German firm called Carplane intends to address that need. The company is working on a dual-fuselage model with the wings stacked neatly between the two cockpits. The Carplane was shown at the Aero Friedrichshafen aviation trade show in April and can be seen on the company’s website.
While it might seem that the wings need to be detached manually, actually the conversion is automated. The wings fold scissors-like, departing the wing attach points and stacking behind the cockpits, then move forward into their storage space. The prevents what the Carplane Web site indicates is a crosswind problem when wings are folded but extend upward from the vehicle while driving. A direct competitor, Terrafugia, uses that storage method.
The company also claims that flying cars with upward folding wings might not pass through modern parking garages.
Having an electric folding mechanism adds considerable weight to the airplane. That is part of the quandary flying car builders face. They must make the aircraft light enough to fly while making it strong enough to pass vehicle safety standards. It must be easy to convert from car to airplane and back again without a trip to an aircraft maintenance shop. The Maverick based in Florida actually uses a powered parachute to hoist a dune buggy, but cruise speeds are not spectacular. It was meant for fording jungle streams.
Carplane carries two passengers who travel isolated from one another either on land or in the air. The single-engine craft intends to use four 15-inch road wheels. The wing area is 115.4 square feet. The vehicle empty weight is 1,097 pounds and takeoff weight is 1,653 pounds. The engine is a PC850 of 151 horsepower. The four-blade propeller is five feet, six-and-a-half inches in diameter and folds. The takeoff run is estimated to be 279 feet, while the landing run is estimated to be exactly the same. The range is said to be 450 nautical miles. Cruising speed is claimed to be 108 knots, with an estimated stalling speed of 36 knots. It is estimated to climb at a rate of 1,150 feet per minute. The length is 17 feet, same as a luxury car.
The company said it has entered the formal certification process in Europe.