Burt Rutan designed roadable plane for Scaled Composites

Aviation Week – Burt Rutan, who retired in April, has unveiled a roadable plane design.

The Model 367 BiPod is a two-seat, hybrid-electric roadable aircraft. Originally conceived as a rapid, low-cost electric testbed, the effort evolved into a flying car and was accelerated to allow Rutan, a long-time advocate of personal electric aircraft, to see the vehicle completed before his retirement.

Scaled Composites press release on the Model 367 BiPod

Scaled Composites Model 367 Bipod pages

The BIPOD program was conceived as a rapid, low-cost electric test-bed using as many COTS components as possible. During initial conceptual design studies, Scaled found that many of their propulsion system characteristics were well aligned with the drivetrain needs of a roadable vehicle and expanded the research program to include a “flying car” airframe. With the impending deadline of Rutan’s retirement, Scaled Composites pursued an aggressive schedule and successfully achieved first flight of the BIPOD vehicle within four months of beginning preliminary design. The entirely new design will operate as a high-performance airplane with STOL capabilities, 200 mph maximum speed, and 700 mile range or as a road commuter vehicle capable of freeway speeds, urban driving, and garage storage.

The flight-capable BiPod will have two 450cc internal-combustion engines, one per fuselage, driving generators feeding a distributed electrical power system. In road mode, this will power 15kW motors on driving wheels positoned aft in each fuselage behind steerable nose wheels.

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