This article was published more than 5 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current.
Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Icarus is a wingless flying powersport aircraft concept that drives like a motorcycle and uses the magnus effect to fly. It is equipped with a modified Rotax 914 engine to provide power to four rotating cylinders for lift and a rear propeller for propulsion.
Last August, I started exchanging e-mails with Richard Nelson from SolarRoof about aerodynamic improvement ideas for the Hyperjolt, which was one of my earlier road concepts. During our exchange, I came across the Rotor Aircraft prototype built by Anton Flettner and the Icar 101 aircraft concept. Jean-Pierre Ligné, the Designer of the Icar 101, gave me some advice on how to configure the Icarus.
How it works
The Icarus uses a commonly observed effect in which a spinning cylinder curves away from its principal flight path (Think about the curve of a spinning baseball). Instead of wings, the Icarus would be equipped with four cylinders that measure around six feet long. These cylinders would spin at approximately 3,500 rpm around their axis and create lift as the rear propeller pushes the aircraft forward.
I plan on using a modified Rotax 914 engine or a smaller motorcycle engine to provide over 150 hp to the Icarus propulsion systems. Each rotating cylinder would be powered by an 7.5 kw electric motor; this way each ‘wing’ would be controlled individually in the flight management computer. A generator connected to the engine would power the electric motors and the rear propeller would be powered by a drive shaft.
The Icarus is still an early-stage concept idea. The rear rudder is not shown because we need to define how the ailerons and the flaps would interact with the cylinders. The friction of the cylinders with the air also needs to be studied because it changes based on many variables such as material used, rotating speed and cylinder size.
We also need to address the issue of an emergency power failure.
What it is used for
I’m not a big fan of ‘flying cars’ as the skies are already crowded. However, the Icarus could be used for fun; you would hop on it and go for a spin. The Icarus is equipped with skis, but a landing gear or float kit could be adapted to fit it.
I would like to thank Ray Mattison from Design Eye-Q who created the renderings of the Icarus concept. Ray is based near Duluth, Minnesota, USA. He studied at the College for Creative Studies, and he has worked for Cirrus Aircraft and Exodus Machines. Ray also created the images of the Argentic and Mitzuchi concepts. I would also like to thank Richard Nelson and Jean-Louis Ligné for their inspiration, and Olivier Peraldi, who also gave me some very good feedback on the Icarus.
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