Yes, you read that right. It’s a trike that flies. And it is electric powered. Trike is the very symbol of American Custom Culture. Trikes have come into existence because we love to build and modify and customize and play God with our iron horses.
This flying trike named “Delta” weighs only 108 pounds (49 KG). A team of eight students of NUS (National University of Singapore) under the expertise of Professor Martin Henz undertook the creation of the Delta electric power paraglider for The National Geographic’s Machine Impossible television series. The National Geographic challenged the engineering students to build an aircraft of any form within a certain budget. The main condition however was that the aircraft is “Fun To Fly”. Professor Martin believes that such engineering programs were great benefit to students who get to apply their book theories into real-life scenarios keeping in my mind monetary limitations and hardware tools available to them. You may not see the Delta in your local traffic signal but it is innovative design and engineering nonetheless. Professor Martin wishes it to become a “Green Contribution” to a sustainable recreational vehicles of the future. I personally called Elon Musk of Tesla Motors for comment but he yelled a Chinese restaurant menu on the phone instead of anything remotely relevant to this story.
More and more electric vehicles are gaining momentum in self-help indie industry. One of the square-eyed 22 year old virgin nerd I spoke to confirmed that The Delta was "the lightest aircraft in the world that can take off and land with wheels while carrying an adult pilot."
The Delta has three wheels, where its two back wheels are supported by fiberglass rod suspension, with the front wheel connected to the steering just like a children’s tricycle. The frame of the Delta is made from carbon fiber and aluminum. It also has a roll cage to protect the pilot. Safety nets separate the pilot from the 31 inch carbon fiber propellers in the rear. There are two eight-kilowatt electric motors, charged by 14S lithium polymer batteries which drive the Trike. A parachute is engaged in the runway to enable flight takeoff. The dashboard has a small display which tells the pilot about the remaining charge levels on the battery. Currently, the Delta seats one person weighing 75 KG at a flight speed of 22 miles per hour (36 KM per hour). Current battery specs offer a 10 minute flight duration. Full recharge is possible in 45 minutes. It took 3 months from start to end for this project’s success. Well, they are students, just kids okay! What did ya expect, F-16 for civilians?
Safety features include roll cage for pilot, screen net dividing the pilot and propeller, fiberglass rods to cushion the landing and engine-kill switch for emergency.
If you or your daughter’s annoying boyfriend have such student tales of adventure on three wheels, drop us a note or post a comment. We will send our elite team of leather-clad pencil pushers to review the project and take selfies with your daughter.
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Copyright Ujjwal Dey 2016