Popular Mechanics’ AeroDream
This is the website for the Popular Mechanics article “AeroDream”
If you have read about the AeroDream (light sport aircraft) concept plane in Popular Mechanics, then you might be interested in actually flying the thing!
So, here is your chance.
- Download X-Plane and install it. For detailed instructions on how to install the demo, check out our Quick Start Guide.
- Download this aircraft, unzip it, and drop it into the Aircraft folder for the copy of X-Plane that you installed above.
- Launch X-Plane, then move your mouse to the top of the screen (causing the menu to appear).
- Click on the Aircraft menu, then click Open Aircraft.
- In the dialog box that appears, select the folder and aircraft that you just installed.
- Hit the B key to turn off the brakes, press F2 repeatedly to advance the throttle to full, and click on the center of the windshield with the mouse to steer (assuming you do not have a joystick)… and now fly like crazy!
If you have trouble configuring X-Plane (setting up your joystick, choosing an aircraft, etc.) or you want further instructions on how to fly, see our Quick Start Guide.
- Empty Weight: 800 lb
- TakeOff Weight: 1300 lb
- Fuel Capacity: 28 gallons
- Payload with Fuell Fuel: 316 pounds
- TakeOff Distance: 950 ft
- Max Climb: 1250 fpm
- Stall Speed (dirty): 44 kt
- Stall Clean (dirty): 54 kt
- Max Speed: 135 kt
- Normal Cruise Speed (70% power): 125 kt
- Range at Normal Cruise Speed: 650 nautical miles (no reserve)
- Endurance at Normal Cruise Speed: 5.3 hours (no reserve)
Stability and control are good, BUT:
The prop is well above the center of gravity! As a result, you must add power gently, pulling the stick aft, to avoid nosing over into the ground!
Keeping your speed up so that you always have elevator authority, and changing power gradually are your best defenses against losing pitch control of the aircraft. Remember that the thrust line is well above the center of gravity of the aircraft, and that adding power will cause the craft to want to nose over.
This craft has twn vertical stabs… and NEITHER of them is in the wash of the propeller! As a result, the vertical stabilizers are of very limited effectiveness at low speeds. This means that the nose will pull strongly to the side during take-off, especially at the beginning of the roll, where thrust is high, and airflow over the vertical stabilizers is minimal. As well, this prop is installed BACKWARDS from normal props (since it PUSHES the plane!) so the plane will pull in the OPPOSITE direction as a normal airplane… in fact, the nose pulls strongly to the RIGHT on take-off!
This craft is a tail-dragger. The third wheel is at the back of the airplane, not the front. This means that if you jam the brakes during any ground operation, the craft will nose over onto it’s nose… beware!
The craft is very long, as as a result, can not sit on the ground in a very nose-high attitude.
As a result, the nose is not easily raised for take-off and landing, so take-off and landing are done in a flat attitude, with careful use of FLAPS to control lift, since pitch attitude is almost locked as the attitude set by the landing gear, since the craft is so long, with gear at the extremeties.
Partial or even full flaps are recomended for take-off, since you will not be able to get lift by raising the nose very much, since the craft sits on the ground in a fairly flat attitude, with all 3 gear in contact with the ground… trying to raise the nose during takeoff simply jams the tailwheel into the runway, accomplishing little.
This craft has a very long, thing wing. This is referred to as a ‘high aspect ratio’ wing. While this wing is very efficient, high-aspect stall at a lower angle of attack, so you do NOT want to raise or lower the nose too much with this airplane… all oeprations should be conducted in a fairly flat attitude (nose neither up noe down very much).