More reports on: Automotive, News reports, General - aero

Is it a copter? Is it a plane? No, it's a car or is it?

news
20 February 2015

Planes that can double as cars on the road have been on the anvil for some time now, but a newer development may push aircraft runways and large airports further towards redundancy.

SkyCruiser - Road configurationAmerican company Krossblade Aerospace Systems is planning a "shape-shifting" craft that can take off from anywhere like a helicopter and then switch to flying like a normal plane, and on landing be driven on the road.

Arizona-based start-up Krossblade says its SkyCruiser concept gets over the biggest problem of the flying car - needing a runway to land and take off from.

Instead, it has four rotors that allow it to take to the air - and then switch to fly like a normal plane.

The company had unveiled the concept of the SkyCruiser transforming vehicle last year.

Krossblade describes SkyCruiser as a concept five-seater hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) transformer airplane with road-drive ability.

''SkyCruiser is a concept 5-seat hybrid VTOL transformer airplane with road-drive ability,'' the firm says.

SkyCruiser - Cruise configuration''It enables a traveler to travel directly from point A to point B, instead of going from point A to an airport in a car say, then fly from the airport to another airport, and then drive with a car from the other airport to point B.''

Rather than spending three to four hours going from Los Angeles to San Francisco, for example, SkyCruiser takes a traveller directly to his destination, from one point to another, in just a little over an hour, the company adds.

While the SkyCruiser vehicle is still some way from development, the technology could soon become a reality in a functioning prototype dubbed SkyProwler, based on the larger concept of the SkyCruiser, the report said.

The SkyProwler has four horizontal propellers that allow it to perform vertical take-offs and landings, and to hover in mid-air.

Also significantly, with this innovative air vehicle, landing on all kinds of surfaces may now be possible.

SkyCruiser - VTOL & hover configuration"This opens up flying to a much larger range of possible terrains, from backyards and rough fields, to a boat on the sea," the company said.

Users can instruct the aircraft to retract its landing gear and pull its four rotor props into the sides of its body.

In this mode, the craft is powered by two rear props, allowing it to cover bigger distances at 134 km/h.

For slow-speed flight, the craft's weight can be cut by temporarily removing its wings and tail. It will then travel at 56 km/h, the report said.

According to Krossblade, the flight time of the craft ranges from 24 minutes when it is in quadcopter mode to 40 minutes when flying fixed-wing.

The SkyProwler is controlled using a radio remote control unit that comes with a live-streaming video screen.





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