Stephen Posted April 6 Report Share Posted April 6 Aircraft/Car Review : AirCar Project by NHAdrian This review is starting in a driveway, on a street, amongst the X-Plane Autogen, yet we are going flying? An unusual concept. There was always the concept of driving to the airport, converting the road vehicle to an aircraft configuration, then go flying... coming back to do the reverse, stow the wings and then drive home. It has been on television, remember "Supercar", or the more better concept of the "MAC Jet Air Car", that could convert from a road car to either a plane or a boat in the Joe 90 TV Series 1968, by Gerry (Thunderbirds) Anderson. Then so the oddities of home grown Car/Aircraft, of which most of them never really got off the ground, in this new drone era, is the same idea going to go back to the future, and obviously they will try again to create the road/fly concept, but this time without the heavy engine that bulks up the idea. But an Air-Car concept does exist... it's called KleinVision, and the founder is Stefan Klein a Slovakian. He has devoted the last twenty years converting his flying-car dream into reality. Currently he has completed the flying prototype of an AirCar that has also been tested successfully at Nitra airport in October 2019. This review is that same concept brought to life in the X-Plane Simulator by talented developer NHAdrian. We will look at the car aspect first. The forward area is a bit Porsche 917 in the canopy and nose, even the rear to a point is the same shape in the 917 Long-tail variant, and you don't see the steering front wheels as they are hidden by aerodynamic covers. And you open the canopy via the door switch externally, or lock handle on the roof. The AirCar is a two seater, or a pilot and a passenger. You feel the shell internal design (probably carbon fibre) so it feels a bit "Boaty". Inlaid on the shell are the twin leather seats with red inserts and seatbelts, the quality is perfect to the real car/aircraft. Fuel Selector ON/OFF is set high between the seats. For an hybrid machine, and a part aircraft, there isn't a lot of instruments, more like a car layout arrangement than aviation focused, there is even no rudder pedals for simplicity? Turning on the power will give you the AIRCAR logo on the screens (a nice touch), there are three, instruments left, engine and control positions centre, backup instrument EFD and AviTab right (Plugin required). First is the steering wheel... but in reality it is a Yoke, but in CAR Mode it will only move left right and not forwards or backwards. It is well done and nicely detailed, with a PTT (Push-To-Talk Switch) left and right a car horn! Directly ahead of the driver/pilot is the main instrument binnacle. Here there are four instruments, the first dial left in car mode is blank... then there are the main flight instruments of SPEED, VERTICAL SPEED (V/S) and ALTITUDE, the air pressure adjustment BARO and indicator is built in. To the left are the switches to cover... Trim Adjustment (Elevator) and marker, Fuel Pump, INOP, Battery (Power) and START - ON - OFF, the large red handle is the BRS (Ballistic Recovery System) or parachute. Note top centre Dashboard is the Whisky Compass. Centre display covers the Engine Instruments. Here again in CAR Mode. The large main dial is the RPM graph, with the direction indicator in the middle that covers D (Drive), N (Neutral) and R (Reverse). Left three bar indicators cover... Manifold Pressure, Water Temperature and Battary Voltage, below is the Flaps indicator. The right side covers the current time and date, Fuel Levels, RPM value. Annunciators (very car like) cover Taxi Lights, Landing (Driving) Lights, Oil Pressure, Parking Brake, Tire Blown, Generator Fault, Emergency Lights, ESP (Skidding), Turn Right and Left signals. Below the display is the Flap selector switch (two stage), and a Simple COMM radio. Right display panel has an EFD (Electronic Flight Display) with Airspeed and Altitude Tapes, and Artificial Horizon, Slip, Bank Angle, Turn Coordinator, V/S and Groundspeed indicator, the full backup instrument package. I like the AIRCAR logo below. Left is the AviTab display that can be used with Navigraph charts (Subscription), or moving map... and if you put the CAR into reverse it will show a "Reverse Camera". The lower Circuit Breaker (Fuses) panel are all static, but are well done. Last panel far left is the lighting switch panel, with; Strobe Lighting, Cockpit Light (Dome), Emergency Light (Car hazard lights), Turn Signals and the main front lights in Taxi Lights - Landing Lights. The Centre Console has three levers... Throttle, Parking Brake and Hand Brake, and Direction Lever. This lever is used only in CAR Mode, Neutral, or Forwards (Drive) and Reverse. The detail in the cockpit is excellent and is a very high quality, overall a very nice place to be. Put the weight above 50 kgs for the passenger and a woman will appear, click on her and she will change to a male. Both the Pilot and Male passenger are fluidly animated, but the woman is not. Not really about the AirCar, but it is interesting to sit in a street rather than an airfield. X-Plane 12 trees sway in the background, filter light, and look very realistic... It is quite easy to drive... well like a car. Fuel Pump on, and the starter switch up to START, you have to hold the switch up for a while until it catches and runs, then settles down around 650 rpm. Power is provided by a 1.6 litre BMW road car engine, running on automotive petrol or gasoline and delivering 104 kilowatts (139 hp). Engine is set mid-vehicle for balance. Put the "Direction Lever" into D or Drive, and release the brake... as there are no foot-pedals, you have to have "Regular" Brake set in either a "Key" Command, or like me use my "Pinky" Joystick lever as my braking, throttle is by the throttle lever not a car pedal... Turning circle is atrocious, so you have to plan your speed when turning, but only then it is still doable... In the Car mode it is basically like driving a car, feels like driving a car, very easy, very, very realistic! I'm driving with a joystick, so only small movements are needed, just like fast Taxiing... "Oh dear... Some people just don't know the road rules! tut, tut". Building speed is interesting, you have to think ahead, but with only one small slip and you can easily lose it... focus. I have to think harder, as I drive on the (English) left, not the American right, this way or that way? I find the freeway/motorway to go west on the Polk Parkway (570). Overall most of the driving is sound, but there are weird curve-balls coming from X-Plane. Motorway off ramps can quickly change to dirt? and then you can get stuck? Motorway sections that go under other roads can also make you become undone, as they will easily flip the AirCar... But generally you can drive around quite easily. In joining the motorway, you can up the speed more, but traveling at nearly 100 kmh it requires a lot of focus and concentration, but it also gives you a smile, a mile wide on your face... it is serious fun! You power along... focused, extremely focused, a slight nudge of the stick, and your gone? Navigation is tricky? The X-Plane "MAP" sort of shows you were you are, but to navigate roads the AviTab moving map is actually far better. Time to come off at "Supnik" Obviously the signage does not match the map? Off ramp and then I am at Lakeland Linder International Airport, or in ICAO speak KLAL. And the home of "Sun 'n Fun" airshow. "This is certainly not the usual way I arrive at KLAL?" I turn in, and then make my way around the perimeter road to my usual Lakeland "Office". Now I am at the point I usually START the aircraft review, but first we have to do something to fly! Set into the rear of the vehicle are a set of folded wings... ... put the car in neutral, parkbrake ON, and the canopy has to be CLOSED. Then open up a flap on the right side panel. Flip up the (red) switch to transfer the power supply, then click downwards the other switch from CAR to AIRPLANE, when the light goes green, then the conversion happens! First twin doors open mid-section to reveal the mechanism, which has been faithfully internally reproduced in detail... ... then the tail section will extend out rearwards. Then the internal mechanism will lift out the wings vertically.... ... then drop them to the horizontal position, then the wing unfolds into the full wing. The twin mid-section doors will then close, and you can now shut the side flap to lock everything ready for flight. You can watch it convert a hundred times and still not get bored. Now you have AIR side of CAR, in an aircraft. Several changes have also happened on the instrument panel. One a AOA (Angle of Attack) instrument is now shown in the far left dial. The direction lever is now locked with an A to denote you are in aircraft mode, also noted on centre display as AIRPLANE... .... also the steering wheel now becomes a full left/right - in/out Yoke. "But how to use the rudder without rudder pedals" you ask? Well they work (a bit like X-Plane without a yaw or pedal input) in by being connected to the ailerons, turn left/right and rudders turn in unison to the ailerons. The huge stabiliser works with the in/out Yoke inputs. Two stage flaps are built into the underside of the wings, an old-fashioned way of working flaps (think DC-3), but well done here. Air propulsion is via a huge WOODCOMP s.r.o.68 [in] 1,720 [mm] twin composite blade, ground adjustable propeller, sitting aft between the twin-booms. And there now you have an AirCar ready to fly... Flying the AirCar In Aircraft mode, starting the AirCar is exactly the same, fuel pump on, pushup the STARTER switch and the rpm rises to 650, and your ready to go... more weird is that you just let go of the park brake and push up the throttle, and "Drive" to the runway? Is it "Taxiing", no not really as it doesn't feel like taxiing, but like really driving around the taxiways of an airfield in your own car? Lighting forward is again very car like, Taxi and Landing lights are built in the same way Sounds, well a low "brrm brrm" in Car mode, and a sort of very, very smooth General Aviation modern sound, almost electric feel in Aircraft Mode, and the BMW engine sounds like a high performance lamborghini when you put the power on... weird, but extremely realistic. So the transition from driving on the roads to in being an aircraft is seemless, even in both modes. More weird is the very low CofG or Centre of Gravity, so your sitting low, not high, almost flat to the ground, more weird again there are no rudder pedals? you look and want to feel them, but they are obviously not there. Brake off, power up... the takeoff roll is different, your very low down with a lot of width. Your very used to high and narrow like in a Cessna, it feels ODD? It tracks very nicely, because you are low and wide, then at 150 km/h (81 knts) you pull back on the yoke, note that once you get within the white.. then moving into the green band you are at rotate speed... and then fly! The AirCar will leave the ground quite cleanly, but once you hit the air, then you will quickly need to orientate the way you handle the machine, or feel it... It's not an aircraft with a separate rudder control, it's flat in design, so the air or wind tend to lift the flat wide underside of the machine, slight movements are required to keep it steady and level... Rate of climb is actually a very good 980 fpm ( 4.97 m/s), almost 1000 ft per minute as with the best angle of climb speed of 83 kts (155 km/h), the best overall rate of climb speed is actually 89 kts (165 (km/h)... ... but your flying, if still trying to work out the best way to do so, keeping it simple is one aspect, and don't try to over think it, or try any silly maneuvers, it's not a fully fledged aerodynamic machine, but a large mass flying through the air. Soon I'm trimming the AirCar out, and it responds quite nicely to trim changes. Now your straight and level... Top speed is 115 Kts (213 km/h), but you cruise around 75% power at 2,000 ft or 105 Kts (195 km/h), but you can't go to far, as the range is 158 Nm (300 km), or about 1:30 h:mm flying time, and the fuel tanks empty very, very quickly, even this small circuit gulped a third of a tank(s) of fuel. Full service ceiling is 16,404 ft (5,000 m), but you would never ever use that. Under side is really well sculptured, with the exhausts well modeled, but it looks like a flying wing. Sounds are nice in flight, 360º doppler with a great direct rear prop wash noise... it all feels very authentic. The AirCar is approved for normal and these listed maneuvers: Steep turns not exceeding 60° bank, Lazy eights, Chandelles and even Stalls (except whip stalls), but basically you wouldn't go there. You get knocked around a lot in gusty conditions, no Autopilot either to relieve the workload, basically overall you just trim-out and fly. Soon I'm over Lakeland Linder, then following my earlier path back up the Polk Parkway (570). I'm going to admit I miss my aircraft instruments, VOR pointers, Course pointers... there is the EFD (Electronic Flight Display) which is very handy, but it's hard to work out circuits and finding the correct runway angles. Now I'm over the house that I was parked at only an hour ago. Approach is tricky... The AirCar will descend, but only by putting the nose down, of course you then go too fast, so you have to plan your landing a fair way out. I found 400 ft @ 147 kmh, about 80 knts to be the right height and approach speed... ... almost anything will cause the AirCar to balloon, rise... like the wrong angle of attack, dropping the flaps, strong winds, so it needs steady pair of hands to get the approach right... even then the AirCar will create a massive ground effect boundary as you get closer to the runway... Go down!, Go down!, but the cushion of air just keeps you airborne... more odd is the view out of the AirCar... ... there is the moment you feel the normal landing point, and so high off the runway, but the AirCar just keeps on dropping down, then your sitting scary low! You eyes are saucers as you feel your body is going to actually touch the runway, but then the rear wheels thankfully touch, a small flare works well, and so you let the nose down gently... touch is around 135 kmh, or 72 knts, and the braking is really good, the wide low width keeps you steady as well as the speed runs off... It was a very interesting landing. But one I feel you could master with a bit of practise. Lighting Lighting is basic, but well tuned for X-Plane 12. As noted there are the Taxi/Landing lights in the nose, and also the flashing "Hazard" lights which could be used as a beacon effect. Standard Navigation lights and Strobes (nice) are both LED. Notable are the twin red rear lights for the Car, with brighter braking lights that look realistic on the road, in the air they are the Navigation lights... clever! Instrument panel lighting is one setting (bright) with no adjustment, there are also two red set "Dome" lights up of the seats for reading map/navigation... There is the long taxi... or drive back to the apron. Once there you just flip a couple of switches, and the Air-Car conversion happens in reverse. Restart the engine, and off you go on to drive home, great isn't it. And all very Gerry Anderson! There are no Menus, or Liveries with the package. ____________________ Summary The concept of driving to the airport, converting the road vehicle to an aircraft configuration, and then go flying. Has been around for as long as the aircraft has existed, there has been a lot of crazy odd-ball designs in trying to convert a Car into an Aircraft and most if not all ideas have failed, the AirCar is a concept that really has just stayed a concept. But a Slovakian called Stefan Klein has created the KleinVision, or AirCar, and it really does convert from a road car into a flying machine, and has really flown successfully at Nitra airport in October 2019. Naturally anything "Experimental" will work it's way into the X-Plane Simulator. This AirCar is that concept brought to life in the X-Plane Simulator by the talented developer NHAdrian. And extremely well done it is... it works in simplicity as a Car, but can covert to Aircraft Mode with the touch of two switches. Detail is excellent as the AirCar is reproduced here in full, with both the internal and external detail as per the real machine, yes you can drive it on X-Plane's roads, which is a lot of fun, but also fly and feel the concept as well. The attention even to the smallest detail is astounding, but remember, it is not an aircraft with full aircraft instruments, there is even no rudder pedals! But it does fly and is also great fun to practise and master this hybrid machine. There are no Menus or Liveries. X-Plane is the foundation of "Experimental" machines, and this AirCar certainly fills out that brief, it's clever, but as noted also a lot of fun, I loved it... Highly Recommended. ____________________ The AirCar Project - Experimental Road/Air vehicle by NHAdrian is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore AirCar Project - Experimental Road/Air vehicle Price is US$29.95 This aircraft is only X-Plane12 and not X-Plane 11 supported Requirements X-Plane 12 Only Windows, Mac (using Rosetta) or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 302 MB Current Version : 1.0 (March 29th 2023) Download for the AirCar by NHAdrian is 288Mb Installation is 383Mb in your X-Plane General Aviation Folder. Documentation: AirCar_Users_Manual_1.0.0 Full description of the AirCar and how to drive/fly the machine The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. For MAC OS X users: please read this article about enabling Rosetta: https://www.x-plane.com/kb/using-x-plane-11-addons-with-x-plane-12-on-mac-systems/ _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 14th April 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05b3 (This is a beta review). Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by Nicolas (Airport by NAPS) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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