Burt Rutan, for those who are unfamiliar, is a famous engineer who was behind the Ansari X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne among many other amazing aircrafts. His swan song, before he retired in April, was finally revealed on Sunday and it is called the BiPod. Essentially it is a hybrid-electric vehicle that is supposed to be able to travel on the ground, but at the same time be able to extend its wings (which supposedly are stored between its fuselages when not in use) and take to the skies.
The BiPod was designed to feature twin fuselages that are equipped with electrically driven wheels and propellers, with batteries powering the craft’s propulsion and whose systems are kept topped up by two small 450cc internal-combustion engines, with one in each fuselage.
As it stands, the BiPod has not managed to achieve much altitude in terms of flight, only managing a couple of feet above the Mohave Desert’s runway as the propellers in the nosecone and rear stabilizers that would propel it during flight have yet to be installed.
The BiPod has the capacity to cruise at 200mph for a distance of 530 miles, with a low-power mode that will cut the speed in half, but at the same time increasing the range to 760 miles. In terms of range, the BiPod should be getting 820 miles on a full tank of fuel and about 35 miles on electric alone.
It seems unlikely we will be seeing the BiPod put into mass production anytime soon, but a hybrid vehicle that can travel on the road and fly? If you think that sounds crazy, perhaps the fact that Terrafugia’s Transition has been declared road legal might offer you a glimmer of hope.