Cruise Hover Cruise
For decades, the dream of a personal aircraft that can take off and land vertically in a restricted space (perhaps as small as a suburban backyard) has been realized only in the form of homebuilt helicopters — impressive projects, but complex and expensive to build and maintain, difficult to fly, and capable only of very limited performance (typically, not much faster than the family car on the Interstate).
Now, well-known aircraft designer, Dale Kramer is developing a new design that combines technology first demonstrated in the 1950s -- that of a “tail sitter” airplane that can take off and land vertically -- with new propulsion and control software technology that has become ubiquitous in millions of “multicopter” drones.
In 1954, both Lockheed and Convair developed prototype tail sitters (the XFV-1 “Salmon” and XFY-1 “Pogo,” respectively, Both were massively overpowered turboprop fighters; both were highly complex; and both could be flown only by elite test pilots. Both flew, although only the Pogo was successful in demonstrating vertical takeoff, transitions to and from forward flight and vertical landing. In 1955, Ryan developed a prototype tail sitter jet, the X-13, which made at least one full-cycle (vertical takeoff, forward flight, vertical landing) flight; once again, it proved impractical, and demanded extremely high levels of specialized pilot skill. A major issue for all three airplanes was the need for the pilot to back the aircraft down to a landing while lying nearly on his back and looking backward over his shoulder.
Fast forward to the present: Multicopter drones have proliferated wildly, operating in regimes ranging from surveillance, scientific research, major studio filming, or (perhaps someday) package delivery, to consumer video camera drones, to kids' toys. The aerodynamics of such drones are complex — yet miniature sensors and computerized controls have made them so easy to fly that five-year-olds can control them via a smartphone.
In 1979, Dale Kramer designed and developed the Lazair, arguably the most sophisticated, and certainly the most elegant, ultralight airplane of its era. The Lazair was demonstrated at numerous venues including the Paris Air Show. Dale's company, Ultraflight, produced some 1200 Lazair kits, of which many are still flying. In 2011, Dale converted his own Lazair to electric propulsion, and so far as it is known, he became the first person to fly a manned electric aircraft from water (EAA Video).
Now, Dale has designed a new aircraft combining the efficiency of a conventional gasoline-powered fixed wing airplane with the sophistication and ease of control of an electrically powered, computer controlled multicopter. Called the vLazair because of its tail-sitter VTOL configuration, it's projected to have a cruise speed in excess of 200 mph — more than twice as fast as typical homebuilt helicopters or gyroplanes — and a range of some 600 miles on only 15 gallons of auto gasoline.
A single proven 100-hp Rotax 912 engine for forward flight is augmented during vertical takeoff or landing, hover, and transition to or from horizontal flight by six 15-hp electric motors with folding propellers, controlled by the same kind of software that makes multicopter drones so stable and easy to fly. Upon transition to forward flight, the electric motors are shut down and their propellers fold automatically.
A separate onboard 15-hp motor and generator recharge the electric motors' 25-lb lithium battery in about 20 minutes to allow about 5 minutes of hovering flight, enough for several takeoffs or landings.
In the event of failure of the battery, motors, or their redundant control system, the vLazair can takeoff or land horizontally using any small airport runway. In addition, a whole-aircraft parachute system will be installed to allow a safe landing, even out of range of any airport or landable road/clearing, or in the event of failures that would preclude normal vertical or horizontal landings.
A unique feature is the tilting pilot seat, allowing the pilot a constant frame of reference. The tail-sitters of the 1950s had ejection seats that could tilt over only a limited range; optimized for forward flight, they placed the pilot at a steep reclining angle for VTOL operations. The vLazair seat is mounted to a movable platform (which also serves as the cockpit door); an automatic mechanism tilts it during transitions between VTOL and horizontal flight and back so the pilot is always sitting in a comfortable position, with no need to look backward during a vertical landing.
Dale Kramer has been utilizing the various technologies being brought synergistically together for this project for decades. The next step, for which funding is currently being sought, is a ¼ scale powered radio-control model of the vLazair. After sufficient data has been accumulated during the model test program, a full-scale vLazair will be constructed and flown, initially under radio control, and then with a human pilot aboard.
SPECIFICATIONS:Span: 19 feet
Length: 13.5 feet
Height: 8 feet
Gross weight: 850 lbs
Pilot weight: up to 250 lbs with full fuel
Gasoline Power: One 100 hp Rotax 912is and a separate gas powered 15 hp electrical generator
Electric Power: Six Joby JM1 with folding props
Fuel Onboard at 850 lb AUW: 15 gallons of gas and 25 pounds of batteries
Vertical landing speed: 0 mph
Horizontal landing speed: 80 mph
Cruise speed: 200+ mph
Cruise endurance: 3 hrs
Wing Area: 44 square feet
Wing Loading: 19 pounds per square foot
Glide Ratio: ~15/1
vLazair - Imagine the possibilities
vLazair off to that special spot up to 600 miles away!
vLazair runway landing aerodynamics
HOW YOU CAN HELP:I need help to fund the various stages up to that exciting first manned full scale takeoff. I am trying to raise these funds by selling things that I hope you are interested in.
~1/32 scale vLazair for $100
PLEASE SELECT COLOR AND THEN CLICK ON 'Buy Now'
THIS IS A MADE TO ORDER ITEM.
PLEASE ALLOW 2-3 WEEKS FOR DELIVERY.
Autographed ~1/32 scale vLazair for $150
PLEASE SELECT COLOR AND THEN CLICK ON 'Buy Now'
THIS IS AN AUTOGRAPHED AND MADE TO
ORDER ITEM. PLEASE ALLOW 3-4 WEEKS FOR DELIVERY.
8"x10" vLazair Cruise - Hover - Cruise Print for $10
This is a signed high resolution 8"x10" image of the vLazair 'Cruise - Hover - Cruise' depiction on photographic paper.
For international orders: Please contact us with your desired order details. We will then contact you with the price and payment method.
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We may be contacted at: info@vLazair.com
The THOHT Mine llc 10034 East Lake Road Hammondsport New York 14840