Flights of Fancy - the TAero Roadable Aircraft
In 2007, DESCH was working with a team that was approached by a private individual with a vehicle idea and a dream, who had been turned away by countless others in his attempts to produce a "roadable aircraft" design, more commonly referred to as a "flying car".
While numerous attempts, and a few commercial examples have been made, the challenges of a roadable aircraft are significant. The client was self funded, however, and the team was willing to consult and build a prototype example, given the wide experience in vehicles, and in developing unproven concepts to reality. The TAero project was born.
The clients technical demands were numerous and conflicting. The plane was to seat 4 six foot passengers plus golf bags, have folding wings and a tail prop, travel at 200 knots in the air and be stable on the highway and have enough air range to cross Colorado without refueling. Passengers and luggage added mass and cross section, conflicting with range. Suspension was a major problem for road stability, as was a powerplant that served two masters.
DESCH developed in-house skills in aeronautical engineering and aircraft design, built FEA models and iterated chassis and suspension designs to achieve the design goals. In the process, new manufacturing techniques for repeatable tube frame chassis were developed as prototypes were built, and scale model vehicles were tested at length. A full scale, operable prototype was under construction when the client encountered financial difficulties and was unable to complete the project. The TAero project neared its goal, but was never able to take off.