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August 12th, 2010 at 9:46 am

History of the Flying Car – Part Two: The Curtiss Autoplane

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Curtiss Autoplane

The 1917 Autoplane, designed by the aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss, is usually cited as the world’s first flying car.  The Autoplane married a flivver (resembling a Model T) to a biplane–make that triplane.  The car, patented in 1919, was capable of short hops–bunny hops, to be exact. It tried but never achieved sustained flight. (Pics)

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Glenn Curtiss was the chief rival of the Wright brothers.  The Autoplane had three wings, a boxy, car-like cabin, and four large wheels. The motor drove a propeller that was located, unlike on most planes, in the rear.  In functional terms, the Autoplane was much more “auto” than “plane.” It could do 45 miles per hour on the road (with wings removed) but it never flew. Some describe it as having “hopped” pretty successfully.

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By the way, if you think the old Curtiss company is long gone, meet today’s Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the same company formed in 1929 with the merger of 12 Wright and Curtiss affiliated companies. It’s still there, and still in aviation.

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Via Aeorfiles and AOPA Pilot

History of the Flying Car – Part One
History of the Flying Car – Part Three

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