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Thread: Speaking of roadable aircraft....

  1. #51

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    MotoLOAD

    The new MotoLOAD system, designed by young EAA members, first flew in February 2012. A system of ramps and dollies allow the pilot to load and secure a street-legal motorcycle inside his airplane. A built-in winch system does all the work and it takes just two minutes to transition from flying to riding.



    The designers actually have roots in roadable aircraft but founded MotoPOD LLC to develop more practical ground transportation solutions for pilots. It doesn’t have as much “cool” factor as a roadable airplane but it’s an obvious winner in terms of speed, range, useful load, price, handling, parking, insurability, etc.

    The ramps and fixtures are all TIG welded aluminum. The 225cc motorcycles comfortably haul two adults with safe highway performance. They are custom built with compact suspension, smaller wheels, carbon fenders, folding handlebars, non-spill plumbing and even decals to match the airplane. There’s no aircraft alterations or installation required. The aluminum fixtures fit snuggly inside passenger foot-well and everything secures with ratcheting tie-down straps which clip into existing seatbelts. The motorcycle setup can be inserted or removed from an airplane in about 30 seconds.

    The prototype flew on Valentine’s Day and the first production unit is being delivered this week to a customer in Texas. The customer uses his airplane for work and play and has a growing collection of junk cars at airports he visits most frequently. These will soon be replaced with just one motorcycle.

    PS – Before someone says, “you can’t store a motorcycle like that…” Fuel safety was a top consideration and redundant safety has been designed into it. The motorcycles have a custom non-spill plumbing system and cant’ spill a drop. For added protection, there’s a generous spill pan beneath the entire motorcycle that’s lined with enough fuel absorbent to contain a catastrophic fuel spill.

  2. #52
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    PS – Before someone says, “you can’t store a motorcycle like that…”
    Actually that wasn't my first thought. That would be "well there goes the entire useful load of most GA aircraft".

    The only safety question I have is: What is the load rating on the tiedown straps and their attachment points?

    By the way, I think this is a rather cool idea. If I were a motorcycle rider, I think I would buy one of these assuming that I owned a large enough aircraft to haul my bike and the tiedowns were sufficiently strong to keep the bike in place during a crash or hard landing. This is a much more practical way to deliver both air and ground transport as opposed to producing a car/airplane combo with mediocre performance as either. Congrats to the designers!
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



  3. #53
    Flyfalcons's Avatar
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    Actually my first thought was "that's one way to actually make the drive to the airport more dangerous than the flight itself".
    Ryan Winslow
    EAA 525529
    Stinson 108-1 "Big Red", RV-7 under construction

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinindy View Post
    Actually that wasn't my first thought. That would be "well there goes the entire useful load of most GA aircraft".

    The only safety question I have is: What is the load rating on the tiedown straps and their attachment points?

    By the way, I think this is a rather cool idea. If I were a motorcycle rider, I think I would buy one of these assuming that I owned a large enough aircraft to haul my bike and the tiedowns were sufficiently strong to keep the bike in place during a crash or hard landing. This is a much more practical way to deliver both air and ground transport as opposed to producing a car/airplane combo with mediocre performance as either. Congrats to the designers!
    I love the term useful load... I think a motorcycle is very useful But more seriously, we found that some 90% of all personal flights were conducted in 4-place airplanes with at least two empty seats. So, we've focused on two place transportation solutions for four place airplanes. That typically gives us some 300 pounds to work with.

    At just 220 pounds dry, the motorcycle is easily carried in place of passengers. For example, the RV-10 hauls my girlfriend and I, the motorcycle, full fuel and a hundred pounds of luggage. The PA 32/34 airplanes haul even more. Admittedly, some older airplanes have very limited useful load but it's usually possible with reasonable fuel management.

    The tie-down straps and anchors were designed to secure the motorcycle to Part 23 standards, including the 9g forward crash case. In addition, the aluminum fixtures are designed to chalk the load in place behind the wing spar.

    I'm not a motorcyclist either. I got my motorcycle license through a weekend course and I ride strictly so I can get around with my airplane. According to an AOPA readership survey, 19.4% of aircraft owners currently own motorcycles and I think nearly half of all pilots know how to ride them. I guess we really like our toys!

    Yes, we found this approach to be more practical than car/airplane combos in many ways. In fact, the designs originated from several years of roadable aircraft research. There are around 2,400 documented roadable aircraft attempts and we figured it might be wise to try a different approach to the problem.

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyfalcons View Post
    Actually my first thought was "that's one way to actually make the drive to the airport more dangerous than the flight itself".
    Actually, we did a lot of safety analysis and I was very surprised to learn that airplanes and motorcycles have nearly identical fatality rates on an hourly basis. The old saying that, "The most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport" is only true for airline travel. Naturally, motorcycles aren't for everyone... but anyone willing to get in a small airplane shouldn't be too concerned with motorcycle safety. However, we do promote safety and include free helmets with all our products. I'm a bit fan of risk management rather than avoidance.

    It turns out... the biggest danger comes from more places to go and things to do with an airplane. Convenient ground transportation has really changed my flying habits and I now fly about twice as much as I used to. I guess that technically doubles my risk

    Here's a quick video of our first design. In EAA spirit, it was originally developed in a small garage, on a shoe-string budget, by a 25 year-old engineer. It's flying on a few RV-10s and getting closer to flying beneath certified airplanes.


  6. #56

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    Great Idea!

    Great idea, and wonderful implementation. One minor comment is that it is older airplanes that have more useful load than the newer ones (less pilot/passenger amenities). Use the Cessna 172 as a good example ... the new ones are really 2-place airplanes.

    I hope the certification doesn't slow you down. Again, great thinking!

  7. #57
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    +1 on the MotoPOD concept. Although I haven't purchased the pod yet (I have some higher priority purchases to still make, like a prop ), I have bought and installed the hardpoints on my RV-10 and I'm sold on the concept after talking to David and crew at Oshkosh and seeing the products up close and in person.
    Todd Stovall
    Aka tsts4 on POA & Matronics, and Auburntsts on VAF, RV Airspace, AOPA, & Purple Pilots
    PP ASEL
    Building an RV-10 N728TT
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

  8. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auburntsts View Post
    +1 on the MotoPOD concept. Although I haven't purchased the pod yet (I have some higher priority purchases to still make, like a prop ), I have bought and installed the hardpoints on my RV-10 and I'm sold on the concept after talking to David and crew at Oshkosh and seeing the products up close and in person.
    Hi Todd, how is your fuselage coming together? I must say, one important element in any new technologies is adopters. We've been fortunate to find a handful of awesome folks willing to try things another way.

  9. #59

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    That's a great point Ron. I meant older (172) vs newer (SR-22) aircraft designs. It certainly is true that a given aircraft model tends to gain weight over time. We're working on an STC for the Cirrus SR-22 and we're finding that newer airplanes are loaded with turbo chargers, FIKI, air conditioning, etc. Even so, they really do have a pretty good useful load. However, the designers included an enormous 85 gallon tank for those occassional long trips. Yet, we're finding a lot of folks who keep the tank topped off and complain about useful load.

    In the case of the Cirrus SR-22, the useful load is pretty good, especially on older ones. However, the designers included an enormous 85 gallon tank for those occassional long trips, even though most cross-countries are under 200 nm. Inevitably, some folks keep the tank topped off and complain about useful load. Fortunately, that can be addressed with a little fuel management.

  10. #60
    Auburntsts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBaircraft View Post
    Hi Todd, how is your fuselage coming together? I must say, one important element in any new technologies is adopters. We've been fortunate to find a handful of awesome folks willing to try things another way.
    Cooking along. I’m trying to finish up soon, getting close to the 90% done, 90% to go phase. I’ve got 3 major purchases left to make (prop, Fire-wall-forward items {alternators, exhaust, hoses, etc}, and radios) and I’m trying to get my financial ducks in a row to get it all ordered. Meanwhile I’ve fitted my cabin top and I’m currently in the process of mounting my overhead console (OHC) to it before the top is permanently mounted to the fuse – it’s easier to work on the OHC with top off the plane and upside down. With the exception of one small tailcone skin, all the major sheet metal work is complete and it’s basically fiberglass work from here on out.
    Last edited by Auburntsts; 04-17-2012 at 11:46 AM.
    Todd Stovall
    Aka tsts4 on POA & Matronics, and Auburntsts on VAF, RV Airspace, AOPA, & Purple Pilots
    PP ASEL
    Building an RV-10 N728TT
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

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