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Giant Microlight

From the sublime to the ridiculous ...
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,
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The concept is for a large passenger-carrying aircraft built with essentially microlight technology; compact 2-stroke engine(s) - with duplicated ingnition - tubular aluminium spars, fabric covered wings. It flies low and slow and short range; passengers have to wear flight suits, crash helmets and gloves.

It would be inexpensive to make and test, because there would be no complex software of die-by-wire avionics; navigation would be visual, by reference to the position of the sun, landmarks, and asking passengers to shout if they recognised anything.

No luggage would be carried, nor would there be any in flight meals or drinks service, other than what passengers could stuff into their pockets.

The aircraft would only fly in good weather and be capable of using grass strips.

It would be used for low level sightseeing, or possibly short range commuting. It would be relatively cheap to run, being the equivalent of a motor scooter compared to a bus.

The flight safety briefing would consist of telling passengers "If anything goes wrong, you will most likely either die or be very badly injured, and there won't be much you or anyone else can do about it. You're not insured, and if you're not happy with any of this, stay on the ground. No-one's making you go in it."

8th of 7, May 18 2008

Sikorsky's Ilya Mourometz http://www.ctrl-c.l...c/ram/ilyamour.html
With a promenade deck. [baconbrain, May 18 2008]

The Breezy http://www.aircraft...itspages/breezy.php
"...Breezy was first introduced in 1965, and hailed as one of the most distinctive and unusual homebuilt designs to ever attend an EAA Fly-in." [Klaatu, May 19 2008]

[link]






       I'm dubious about how many passengers you'll get to carry with a low-horsepower engine (even a 4-cylinder, 100HP Cessna 150 will only carry two people and fuel). I also doubt you'd find a grass strip long enough, but hey, that's the fun part.
phoenix, May 18 2008
  

       Macrolight. [+]
imaginality, May 18 2008
  

       Great idea. I love everything that is "no frills". Down with frills.
bneal27, May 19 2008
  

       I'm a little uncertain about how cost effective it would be compared to regular aircraft. Jet engines are more efficient than internal combustion and I don't think there is a lot of wasted weight on a commercial airliner.   

       The money/weight saving by not having a pressurised cabin would be lost to increased turbulence.   

       Being slower would make it less useful for commuting, as a regular jet airline would make three trips before this made one.   

       All in all you have a tourist attraction which does not sound as fun as going up in a helicopter. Or a genuine light aircraft where the pilot takes you wherever you want.
Bad Jim, May 19 2008
  

       //Jet engines are more efficient than internal combustion//   

       Hmmm. Reference please. I think, especially at slow speeds, that you are exactly wrong.
Custardguts, May 19 2008
  

       Oh, and jet engines *are* internal combustion. We all knew you meant reciprocating-type.
Custardguts, May 19 2008
  

       those 2-stroke gas engines are lightweight, but not particularly fuel-efficient, unless you mean 2-stroke diesel (not particularly cheap). Still, the idea of a frame-girder pterodactyl-y looking contraption touching down at an International Airport a la Flinstones is worth a [+]
FlyingToaster, May 19 2008
  

       I don't know how much you could upsize the Breezy <link>, but I'd sure love to fly on it (sans bugs, hail or rain)   

       [+]
Klaatu, May 19 2008
  
      
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