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Defining the Challenge Page 4




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Vehicle Use

How the vehicle is likely to be used is also a major consideration in designing dual-purpose transportation. The average use of a privately owned, general aviation aircraft is somewhere around fifty hours per year. It is not uncommon for the same pilot to use his automobile fifty hours a month, and in some cases he will use it fifty hours a week. Accordingly, a truly practical flyable and drivable vehicle must be comfortable to fly, and also it must be as comfortable to drive as a normal factory-produced automobile.



The Market

A normal production run for an automobile is at least two hundred thousand units, and it can be as high as eight hundred thousand units. Development costs and tooling make such high production runs essential for economic viability.

The market for aircraft is considerably different. The latest year in which figures are available for factory built aircraft is 1998. In that year some 2,200 general aviation aircraft were produced. This figure does not include homebuilts which might add several thousand or so, worldwide.

The introduction of a truly viable roadable aircraft would modify the demand for general aviation aircraft, but the degree of improvement is impossible to predict. It is certain that the demand for cars would still greatly outpace the demand for aircraft. Clearly, for an auto manufacturer to be interested in producing a dual-purpose vehicle, the inventor must come up with some way to accommodate such an imbalance in demand.







Aesthetics

It has been said that Truth, Beauty and Contact Lenses are in the eye of the beholder! It is a given that everyone has their own idea of what is beautiful. It is probably fair to say that in the designing of aircraft and automobiles, the product will be easier to sell if it has attractive lines.


FunnyLookingThing


Convertibility

In any proposed design, it is expected that it will be necessary for the operator to make changes of some sort to convert from Flying Mode to Driving Mode and back again. It is essential that such changes be easy and convenient. It is particularly essential, if the design allows for attachable and removable components, that they are included and available for use at any time. A pilot must be able to fly part way to his destination, then be able to continue on by road if the weather has degraded. He can not do that if something he needs has been left behind at his home airport.









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