A system level analysis of the framework and feasibility for dual mode air-road vehicle

Siddhartha Jetti, Purdue University


The Dual mode air-road vehicle is one of those concepts that have intrigued travelers and inventors for a long time. The quest for a vehicle that can be driven on the roads and flown in the sky started as early as the development of airplane by Wright brothers in 1906. With the ever growing traffic and congestion on roads, increased security procedures at airports and airline hub-spoke system, the travel times for certain range of distances has increased in recent times creating need for a dual mode vehicle. In US, for the mid range distances (300-400 mile) the travel options available are limited. With limited and localized train/bus coverage, the 300-400 mile travels are more prone to be done by a car or an airline or sometimes both. The travel by car is not desirable as it consumes much time and traveller has to deal with stress caused by congestion and traffic. The travel by airline for these mid range distances doesn't necessarily improve the speed of travel taking into account the time spent on travel to airport, time for clearing check-in and security procedures and time spent on travel from airport to final destination. The national house hold travel survey data by bureau of transportation statistics (Feb, 2004) for US department of transportation reveals that 200-500 mile trips account for about 31.8 % of the total trips in US. With the premise that the dual mode vehicle could be a potential solution for 300-400 mile travels, the present work aims at establishing a frame-work and performance envelope for the dual mode vehicle, in other words the Roadable aircraft or the Flying car. The Roadable aircraft or the flying car is neither a high performance car nor a high performance aircraft, it is a vehicle that has the capability to be driven on roads and flown in the sky. The Roadable aircraft is a vehicle that can perform barely enough to clear air and road regulations and has all the safety devices on-board for air mode. The Roadable aircraft or a flying car is predominantly a road vehicle. The present study focuses on identifying the technical, operational and acceptability challenges that need to be overcome to build the dual mode vehicle. The study also dwells into some preliminary design aspects like power-fuel requirements, wing-airfoil parameters and an approach to address the road ability issues arising due to the wing.




Motevalli, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Automotive engineering|Mechanical engineering

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