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THE TRAUTMAN ROAD AIR


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This somewhat faded photograph shows the Trautman Road Air loaded onto a trailer, and illustrates that it was a very sleek design that could readily be transported down a highway. What it does not make apparent is the fact that it was a "lifting body" design that also incorporated a channel wing. This channel, along with an 85 horsepower Continental engine and pusher prop placed directly aft of the pilot, provided additional lift to the aircraft.

The machine also had wings stored in the lower portion of the fuselage. Small doors on each side were opened to access the wings which were pulled out and then locked in place. This arrangement provided a total wingspan of 25 feet.

In 1959, designer and builder, Herbert Trautman did some taxi tests with the prototype. He then turned the machine into the wind and at about 90 mph it lifted about three feet off the ground. While the design did provide enough lift to make the aircraft fly, it promptly became apparent that it was basically unstable in flight mode. The designer/pilot let it settle to the ground, pulled up, climbed out and never did fly that aircraft again.


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The Trautman Road Air
now resides at the Kermit Weeks "Fantasy of Flight" Museum near Lakeland, Florida.
The pilot can gain access by lifting the front hood and climbing into the cockpit.



Images Courtesy of
DON CAMPBELL

Chicago
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