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Automobile to Aircraft 'Push-Button' Conversion



The "AviAuto"



Aviauto
Scale Model of the AviAuto With Wings & Tail Extended


Spherical Mechanism Design

Researchers from the University of California at the Irvine Campus, and their counterparts at the Florida Institute of Technology, and at Iowa State University are co-operating to build a design tool using Spherical Mechanism Design. There are a number of applications for this type of mechanism. In this case it has been applied to a recent project at the Florida Institute of Technology to deploy and retract the wings on the AviAuto Roadable Aircraft.

The AviAuto is a prototype flying car, that is being developed at Florida Tech. In previous designs of the AviAuto, two planar hinges, each actuated by a stepper motor and gear head, were used to deploy and retract each wing. Implementation of the spherical mechanism design has resulted in significant cost and weight savings.

More information on Spherical Mechanism Design is available at -

http://www.vrac.iastate.edu/~jmvance/SPHERE/SPHERE.htm


Aviautoasacar
Scale Model of the AviAuto With Wings & Tail Retracted

The AviAuto was originally conceived, designed and developed by Harvey Miller of Baker City, Oregon. His main objective was to build a roadable that could be changed from ground mode to flying mode at the touch of a button. To do this, components of the airframe were designed to be stored in compartments in the body of the vehicle when required. He was awarded patent rights to the design in 1981.

In 1989 he started colaborating on the development of the design with J. Robert Smurthwaite, also of Baker City. Their most significant change at that time was to incorporate a second engine into the vehicle. The original concept called for one engine for both flying and ground service. It was felt that for FAA certification, the use of an auto engine and front wheel drive when on the ground, along with a certified aircraft engine for flight purposes would be more suitable.

The work on the mode conversion mechanisms at the Universities of California, Iowa State and Florida Tech is an extension of the development of this roadable.


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This is a side view of the AviAuto in flying mode configuration. The wings and tail booms are extended. The rear axle of the vehicle has been moved forward to place the center of gravity in a more favourable position for take-off rotation. aviautosteps4
The pilot pushes a button to initiate conversion to ground mode. The first action is the shifting of the rear axle to the aft position. The wings rotate and fold back along the sides of the body. aviautosteps3
The tail booms retract along with the engine pilon. The outboard tips of the upper horizontal tail fold down. The flaps and ailerons fold down and the wing tips fold inward at the back of the body of the vehicle. aviautosteps2
Running boards emerge from the lower car body to support and protect the folded wings. The job description of the pilot now changes. He becomes a chauffer and drives away. aviautostep1


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aviautosteps5
Top and End Views of the
AviAuto
in Road Configuration
aviautosteps6

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aviautosteps7
Top and End Views of the AviAuto in Flying Configuration
aviautosteps8

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