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Friday
Jul152011

Burt Rutan (Scaled) Model 367 BiPod: Twin Engine Electric Hybrid With 4 Props!

Props not installed, BiPod 'hops' into the air for first flights  (photos: Scaled Composites)

 (5 pix)

 Oh, it's got two fuselages and 4 wheels too... would you expect anything less unusual from Burt Rutan with his last design project before he retired from Scaled Composites April 2011? If you know anything about the amazing and unique career of Burt, you know this is right down the middle for him!

 According to this Aviation Week article, the BiPod first flew on March 30th, but those were just 'hops' into the air via the driven rear wheels. I'm not sure the current status of flight testing or of the propeller installations. I'm sure more info will surface before long.

 

Scaled Model 367 with wings and outer tail panels removed for road testing 

 The Scaled Model 367 is unconventional on many levels. It's a roadable electric-hybrid aircraft for two people with an intended high speed cruise of 200 mph. It'll have two 450cc engines (one in each fuselage) powering generators designed to drive two 15kW motors at the rear wheels for 'road mode', and then four 15kW motors spinning props for flight mode. As the illustration below shows, two of those motors are mounted on the wings outboard of the fuselages, and the other two are mounted on the horizontal stab between the fuselages. There are also some small batteries in the nose to provide a little power boost when needed, and also to act as a short duration backup in the event of a total loss of engine power.

 

Illustration of the BiPod electric-hybrid configuration for flight mode

 

BiPod in 'road mode' with wings stowed underneath and tail panels stowed inboard front

 The BiPod gave Burt one last opportunity to do some electric and roadable concept testing while also working directly with many of the young engineers at Scaled. Imagine what an interesting experience that would be... to work hands-on with Burt building such a unique flying machine in just 4 months time. It seems it's pretty much the kind of experience that the young and growing team of Scaled employees are involved in on a daily basis. Man, if I'd only gone to college to get that aeronautical engineering degree that I was accepted into Purdue for - and if I was young instead of old, I'd be camping in Mojave trying hard to get my name on the payroll! What an amazing place. And it all got started about 30 years ago with Burt Rutan and a head full of wild ideas!

 There's no real reason to expect the Model 367 to be up at Oshkosh, but there will be all kinds of Burt oriented activities and Burt designed aircraft on-site this year as the EAA facilitates a tribute to his fascinating career in avaition. It's just one more reason why this is gonna be an amazing Oshkosh - don't miss it!

 

 Burt along with many of the Scaled crew that built the BiPod


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Reader Comments (5)

leave it to burt to tackle this one too! :) thankfully someone still instills a passion into our great addiction.

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrcpylon

I'm as jazzed as the next guy about anything coming from Rutan or Scaled Composites, but I really don't find this bipod thing tripping my trigger. Who wants to be separated from the other person like that, in the air or on the ground? Maybe it's useful when you're tasked with mother-in-law duty, but otherwise... The sleek and strange styling we've come to expect from this outfit is, in my humble opinion, sorely lacking this time. Dare I say it? This one is UUUUUUUGGGGGLY. Really too bad THIS is Burt's swan song. : (

July 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

Many plusses for electric propulsion, but check similarity of configuration to Fouga Gemeaux, c. 1951. (Sorry I don't have a good link to image.)

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterairpigz lurker

It doesn't look like a car at all! The BiPod is actually the result of a research project to determine the feasibility of developing hybrid-powered flying cars. It can only carry one occupant in each fuselages. electric motor repairs

Kind reminds me of the twin pod cloud cars from Star Wars

February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAzguy

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