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Patent: Flying Cars? About Time.
Patent: Flying Cars? About Time.  | Frick A. Smith, Kingsland, patent,8152096, flying car, Apparatus and Method for Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircraft,

Frick A. Smith of Kingsland, Texas, recently received U.S. Patent 8,152,096 for “Apparatus and Method for Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircraft.”

Texas Business Patent of the Day:  We don’t have the flying cars that the 1950s promised we’d have by now, and comedians commonly use this fact to express their disillusionment with technical progress. However, one Texan has devised a flying car in an attempt to bring society a step closer to that world envisioned by science fiction more than a half century ago.

Frick A. Smith of Kingsland, Texas, recently received U.S. Patent 8,152,096 for “Apparatus and Method for Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircraft.”

Frick applied for the patent on January 24, 2011.

Frick’s invention relates generally to Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft and more specifically to a compact VTOL aircraft with a fixed wing which can be utilized as a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), according to the patent document.

Iventors have long contemplated and attempted to design vehicles which would serve as a combination car/airplane. That creation could be driven as a car to an airport where it would be converted with wings and then flown like an airplane. Upon landing, the aircraft would be converted back to a car and then driven on a roadway to a destination.

The Aerocar (1959) by Molt Taylor and the recent "Transition" flying car by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student Carl Dietrich and the MIT team show a continuation of that dream.

However, that dream has not been fully realized, and a need still remains for an aircraft that may operate without being constrained to airports or roadways. 

The present disclosure is directed to an aircraft that contemplates no need for driving a car through traffic to and from airports. The capabilities and properties of this particular aircraft make it compact and versatile enough so as to enable a pilot to fly this aircraft from "door to door" without the requirement of an airport or highways.

For example, a person could lift off as with a helicopter from a space such as a driveway, back yard, parking garage, rooftop, helipad, or airport and then fly rather than drive to all the day's various appointments.

Some embodiments of the present invention provide a versatile VTOL aircraft that is not only lightweight and powerful enough to take off and land vertically, but is also economical and powerful enough to take off, land and fly at a fast rate of speed, like an airplane.

Therefore, it serves as a personal air vehicle (PAV) with a multitude of uses and configurations. The ability to transition from vertical flight to forward flight and back again provides unlimited possibilities because it combines the flexibility and best attributes of both types of aircraft. 

In some embodiments, the current invention is able to achieve its power from the placement and production of two (2) Axial Vector/Dyna-Cam type engines mounted sideways with respect to the fuselage of the aircraft (that is, the axis of rotation of the driveshaft of each engine may be oriented transverse to the longitudinal axis of the fuselage).

These engines are lightweight and produce greater horsepower and three (3) times more torque per horsepower than conventional engines. Each engine may have a double-ended driveshaft which provides direct drive to the ducted fans/nacelles which are located outside of the fuselage. Each end of each double-ended driveshaft may turn one ducted fan, so two engines will power two (2) pairs of ducted fans for a total of four ducted fans.