Street Legal Airplane

Posted: February 24, 2013

Here comes the airplane! And, holy crap, it's cutting off Lambos and riding the asses of Ducatis. We've seen the motorcycle that flies with the Hoverbike. Now it's time to behold the airplane that's street legal--under motorcycle designation--with Plane Driven's Glasair Sportsman conversion kits.

Under the motto, "Fly above the traffic...drive through the weather," Plane Driven has developed the PD-2 road kit to convert Glasair Sportsman aircraft into street legal vehicles. The idea is that pilots will no longer have to wait out inclement weather to get moving, but can cruise--up to 73 mph based on test runs--right alongside the minivans and SUVs barreling through town. Then, when conditions for takeoff improve, it's sayonara ground-bound. Stop lights and rush hour are for suckers.

Plane Driven engineers chose the Glasair Sportsman as their PD-2's base because of its folding wings and ability to transition easily between various gear configurations. The kit contains everything necessary to render the plane road-ready and in compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for motorcycles. PD-2s earn motorcycle instead of automobile designation because they don't incorporate certain safety features, such as air bags, and have some limitations in terms of rollover stability and crash worthiness. Transformation components include: steerable front wheels; brakes; wheel pants; a rear drive unit; all required lighting; and all cables and connections. Though pricing has yet to be set, Plane Driven anticipates keeping PD-2 kits below $60,000.

During test runs, the PD-2 has consistently flown up to 140 mph in the air, with expected aerodynamic improvements and, in turn, increased speeds to come. Range between fuel stops is 200+ miles on the road, and 472 miles in the air. In drive mode, the PD-2 runs at 50HP, with a power-to-weight ration similar to that of a 1965 VW Bug. To date, its demonstrated service ceiling has been 15,000 feet.

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