There was an unusual visitor at the Oshkosh airshow this year: a roadable aircraft manufactured by PlaneDriven. The PD2 takes a Glasair Sportsman amateur-built airplane and adds a separate 50-hp “drive unit” to the rear of the craft to provide ground power. To put the vehicle into drive mode, the pilot folds the wings, starts the drive unit, and away we go.
The drive unit looks like a big powered cart that attaches to a dedicated hard point on the rear fuselage. Steerable main wheels allow the pilot to maneuver on the road. The manufacturer says the craft can hit speeds of as high as 73 mph on the highway and can climb hills acceptably. The company’s website compares its road performance to a mid-1960s Beetle, which is to say, none too peppy. Read more (and see it in action) at flyingmag.com.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.