Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Civilian Tilt Rotor Baggage

The Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor has been in the works for a over 10 years, as reported by an August, 2007 article in Aviation International News (AIN) called "As time passes, operators question BA609 appeal". That article goes on to relate the diminishing interest by potential buyers of the craft. A more recent article in 2008 by Aero News Net, titled "BA609 Tiltrotor Makes Its First Appearance At Show", further confirms this by saying "but officials at the American helicopter manufacturer [Bell] have recently signalled the market they once saw for the aircraft has declined significantly in today's economic conditions."

From our perspective, an airplane that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter and also fly as fast and with the same ease as a fixed wing aircraft is the ideal. So, why are people losing interest in the BA609? The primary reason is cost: almost $20,000,000 for a plane that carries eight or nine passengers. With that kind of money, one could buy several helicopters or about five very light jets (VLJs). Other issues quoted by the AIN article are: that the craft is "too big for use on standard helipads and yet too small for comfortable executive charter." Given the already existing helipads in major cities, oil rigs, company campuses, hospitals and private homes, an vertical flight airplane must be able to use them, or it will require an set of such landing pads of its own.

We've already talked before about the inherent weaknesses of a tilt rotor design. That technology is not the most efficient and most reliable way to add vertical flight capability to an airplane. The lack of efficiency and the potential safety problems is what has swollen the cost of the BA609 to far more than any of the competing aviation modes: helicopter or fixed wing plane. We think it just is not possible to build a tilt rotor vertical take off and landing (VTOL) craft without spending money on redundant computer systems and other complexities, thereby inflating the cost considerably.

We do offer an alternative: our Arc Wing VTOL airplane. By using deflected slipstream technology, which we think is the most efficient (the most elegant, really) approach to vertical flight, our craft will cost about the same as a VLJ and will be far more inherently safe than a tilt rotor craft (or even helicopters) due to the simplicity and aerodynamic qualities of the design. We invited all those interested in the best possible VTOL airplane to look into our proposal. The Arc Wing VTOL can be scaled from four passengers to far more. The smaller ones will easily work with existing helipads. The larger craft will have to be accommodated as per their size. In all cases, the cost will be similar to turbine fixed wing planes of corresponding size.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Curing Congestion

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has an program called Focus on Congestion Relief. It certainly seems appropriate the FHWA would address the problem of increasing traffic congestion. They define the sources of congestion as:

Bottlenecks—points where the roadway narrows or regular traffic demands cause traffic to backup–are the largest source of congestion.
Traffic incidents—crashes, stalled vehicles, debris on the road–cause about 1/4 of congestion problems.
Work zones—for new road building and maintenance activities like filling potholes–are caused by necessary activities, but the amount of congestion caused by these actions can be reduced by a variety of strategies.
Bad weather cannot be controlled, but travelers can be notified of the potential for increased congestion.
Poor traffic signal timing—the faulty operation of traffic signals or green/red lights where the time allocation for a road does not match the volume on that road–are a source of congestion on major and minor streets.
Special events cause "spikes" in traffic volumes and changes in traffic patterns. These irregularities either cause delay on days, times or locations where there usually is none, or add to regular congestion problems.

As the FHWA suggests, each of these congestion contributors can be mitigated. But, some can be influenced more than others, only at much expense, and in the case of weather, not much at all. And, the main source of congestion - more transportation demand than can be supplied - can never be solved with roads, unless we pave over vastly more green space.

What the FHWA says about combatting congestion is all the more evidence that something completely different is needed for ground transportation. As the population of the USA grows, particularly in parts of the country already experiencing traffic problems, only a ground transportation system that is expandable, weather immune, with few accidents, free of the need for extensive maintenance (i.e. road work) and automated so that no traffic signals or signs are needed will be suitable. Otherwise, time spent in traffic can only increase.

Our Aeromobile-Aeroduct System is exactly what is needed to cure congestion. Its rights of way (ROW) are lightweight and stackable for easy expansion of capacity. It is weather immune, and as an automated system will be without the accidents caused by bad weather and bad driving. Traffic control is automatically built into the system, so poorly coordinated traffic signals won't even exist. Transportation will not longer be a hindrance; instead it will be an enabler. We invite contact from all those who really want travel in the future to be ideal.

You can see more of our blog posts on this subject at: http://drbertelsen.blogspot.com/search/label/Aeroduct

and far more information about the Aeroduct System and all its advantages at: http://www.aeromobile.com/aeromobile_vers2/aeroduct1/aeroduct1.htm

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Safety in the Snow

In April of 2008, the NY Times published an article called The Last Frontier of Flying by writer Weld Royal. It relates the great need for flying general aviation (GA) craft as the only means for travel for most of the state of Alaska. But the article points out how dangerous flying can be in the 49th state. There are few official airports in Alaska, and weather can be volatile. The article quotes the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as saying pilots in "the state died at a rate nearly 100 times the mortality rate for all American workers, and over five times the rate for pilots nationwide."

Most general aviation accidents occur at takeoff or landing. In a places such as Alaska, where even small airports are not common, the need that GA aircraft have for long stretches of smooth surface for takeoff and landing work against safe flying. We feel this is yet another reason to develop an aircraft with vertical flight capabilities. As readers of this blog know by now, we happen to have such a craft, our Arc Wing VTOL airplane. It can take off and land just about anywhere, needing a smooth surface only the size of a helipad. This kind of GA aircraft would be the safest possible way to fly around Alaska, or any other place

Here are more blog entries on our vertical flight craft.