HOW THE VOLANTE WAS DESIGNED
Abbreviated Version- See Detail in More Info
We set out to design the Volante so that it would provide a user with a quality car (first or second) and a competitive airplane, while adding entirely new capabilities to both. Follow through the decisions below to see if you think the same way that I did. Our goal for the car was that it be able to move seamlessly into your life to replace a similar class of automobile that you are using today.
As a car it will be:
1. Available for as much everyday driving as you wish, in highway traffic and at highway speeds (any destination, to and from the airport/auto fuel-diamond lane- today’s accessories included.)
2. Readily usable from your garage, in which it will share a single stall with the flight component (saves hangar rent, $200 to $1000 per month).
3. As economical, reliable and safe as today’s similar automobile (60 to 80 mpg), a separate easy to overhaul, service proven drive train, safety belts and air bags, long crumple zone, and agility.)
As an airplane it will be:
1. Able to fly at truly time-saving speed (150 mph, 600 mi at 25 mpg on the proven Lyc. 0320)
2. Secure but readily available for usage, maintenance or owner comfort in your garage.
3. Able to transform into a car and trailer and drive through bad weather.
The car and trailer decision, as opposed to road-able airplane, was dictated in my mind by the flying car’s predominant usage as a car, a valid choice as long as there were no other penalties. This required that the conversion process, aircraft to car and trailer and back, be very simply carried out in a very short time. We have set 10 to 12 minutes as a goal. All flying cars require some conversion, estimated at 5-7 minutes at a minimum, so the added 5 minutes is a good trade for a lightweight, unencumbered car, particularly considering insurance (see below). Incidentally, don’t accept anybody’s conversion time estimate until they have certified their crosswind and freeway traffic driving speeds along with the 18 wheelers.
Although pricing for insuring a flying car has yet to be set by a very conservative industry, we believe that flight rates will remain about the same for airplane travel. For automobiles, these rates are set largely by miles (hours) driven and value of the car. With the Volante we believe that we have a very significant advantage, with our separable car valued at $20,000 as opposed to a complete airplane on the road, with a replacement cost on the order of $450,000 — this even when the minimal car and trailer time is accounted for ( i.e. airport trips and when avoiding weather). Our driving test vehicle was never to be flown, so we registered and insured it for a very low premium as a home-built car, actually by California regulations as a custom motorcycle. This should be possible with the separable car when it is driving as well, saving a lot of recurring cost of ownership. More on the insurance picture forthcoming.