Borrowing from nature, looks like a centipede.
Borrowing from nature, looks like a centipede.
Professor Ilan Kroo has pretty high credibility for whatever it's worth. He led the team that developed the SWIFT glider, which still represents the highest performance for a foot-launched "hang glider". It has a better glide ratio than some enclosed sailplanes and gliders.
Now as for the feasibility of actual, working, reliable, housewife-safe VTOL performance from a flying car, well... Google can afford to waste a little money. At least they didn't give it to Moller
I, for one, am ready for it. In fact, I've been waiting for it my entire life!
Note to the young 'un's: Back in the 60s, when we thought we could do anything (and did), we were "promised" that a flying car was "just around the corner".
Must've been parked out front of our Mars base... lol
Googles design looks like something Moller came up with.
EAA Lifetime #638979
EAA—The Spirit of Aviation
For years, Google founder Larry Page has wanted to advance the commute-by-aircraft concept to practicality. In his vision of this personal project, Page and like-minded people could take off from home and fly to work. Not being someone to accept the boilerplate of why six decades of shared effort in the same direction failed, and having the resources to do something about it, Larry began connecting with Stanford aero grads and hanging out at the various Electric Aircraft Symposiums held in the Bay Area. A couple of years ago it became clear that something was up, and it is nice to see part of what that might be about.
Zee.Aero was started by Kroo and at least one of his former students, for whom it is named. Page may or may not be the money behind it, but there were several nice chats among the aero innovators in the room during at least three of the events I attended, wherein this seemed to be the only logical deduction.
Larry, Ilan, Christina, et al will be getting a call to suggest that perhaps we should have a more serious discussion. I share (a version of) the VTOL vision and I'd like to see such initiatives developed in consideration of all the options, which include things that are not in the prior art nor known to the public. All the really good ideas out there require a talented team of equal stature to bring to fruition, and obviously that is what Zee.Aero appears to be building.
Well, let's remember that the reason Google took over the world in the first place is that they built a simpler, more straightforward search engine that didn't have anything un-necessary or ridiculous on the page. It was basic, no-nonsense, and it got you the results you were looking for faster and with less BS.
Now let's ask Mr. Page to apply that same simple Google startup philosophy to the fly-to-work problem. Mr. Page needs to understand that VTOL and tilt wings and lithium batteries and fuel cells and pocket sized-nuclear reactors are the nonsense BS pop science that are clouding people's minds and preventing this idea from becoming reality in our lifetimes :
1) You could try to dump billions into a VTOL machine, and then dump billions more into making it automated and auto-piloted enough to stay right side up, then dump billions more into it to make the batteries last long enough to make a 50 or 100 mile commute possible. THEN you could dump billions more into addressing the legal and regulatory issues of having Granny not able to see over the glare shield to steer clear of the church steeple, and making sure Uncle Bob doesn't try to fly over the schoolyard after having a nip off the old Schnapps bottle.
2) OR, you could dump a couple of million into developing a conventional STOL aircraft that can use an efficient but currently achievable fuel-injected or biodiesel engine. Then you could dump a couple of million into certifying that engine. Then you could dump two or three more million into certifying the airplane/engine combination as an LSA under ASTM instead of 14CFR 23. Then you could dump a few million into an advertising and marketing campaign to get people to understand that flying to work is a worthwhile economic and ecological and increased productivity benefit. Then you could dump several million more into an advertising and marketing campaign to get the land developer and real estate broker industries to understand there is a huge profit to be made by building semi-rural communities around 2500 foot long community runways, to allow people of average means to have a larger home further away from the city, at the same price as a crappy old house within the city limits.
With the first "pop science" method you would spend many billions of dollars and a couple of decades, and at the end of the day you have safety problems.
With the second "existing technology" solution you spend far less than one billion, and you have an achievable goal that could become operational within a decade.
Having a guy like Larry Page invest billions, with a high probability of failure, and then having a guy like that get burned out and wash his hands of personal aviation... represents a huge lost opportunity for aviation. I feel strongly that this man's energy, money, and interest in aviation would be much better put to use on an idea that could create a viable and sustainable demonstration project in a couple of years, followed by some modest and viable advance in technology. He could create something that the average person could use with only a modest commitment to get an LSA license..
Last edited by Victor Bravo; 11-24-2013 at 03:01 AM.