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Seagull Aerosports Escape Pod / Pod Racer
 
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Manufactured by Seagull Aerosports, the Escape Pod is the first fully enclosed trike with retractable landing gear. According to Michael Riggs is President and Founder of Seagull Aerosports the Seagull was designed "starting from a clean piece paper, trying to change the trike genre."
 
Developed by Michael Riggs, Riggs’ company Seagull Aerosports, will fully build the Escape Pod and its unpowered sibling, the Pod Racer, buth weight-shift control with a fully enclosed cockpit. Since empty weight is well under Part 103’s 254-pound limit, ready-to-fly construction is completely proper.
 
The fuselage, or “pod,” is made from composite foam sandwich construction of PVC and graphite prepreg materials. The shape is vacuum-bag molded and oven cured for minimum weight and maximum strength. The complete lower shell and main structural bulkhead weigh only 16 pounds out of the mold, and the entire trike chassis weighs less than 80 pounds with engine and parachute. The bottom of the fuselage is flat so that if an outlanding is necessary and terrain does not encourage use of the gear, a belly landing can be made. In addition, the shape of the nose will prevent shoveling and possible flipover. A foam crush zone forward of and under the pilot adds another layer of protection as does a four-point seat restraint system.
 
The tricycle gear is fully retractable, which were allowed under Part 103 though not for LSA. Maingear legs are made of a filament wound graphite, and the gear is retracted using racing catamaran hardware.
 
Abandoning the forward tube, the Escape Pod uses a streamlined, tapered composite mast that has enough vertical area to provide yaw stability for high performance hang glider wings.
 
The Pod has been designed for full enclosure in a molded acrylic canopy with graphite frames. To facilitate control movements, the triangular control bar passes through a Neoprene-covered slot running fore to aft in the canopy following the control bar’s arc, thus accommodating a full range of motion.For summer use or if customers prefer, a shorter summer windscreen was also to be available. The fuel tanks are mounted internally and the engine is fully enclosed.
 
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A rocket-deployed parachute is mounted on the rear of the main structural bulkhead and fires through a hatch on the side. The handle is on the floor between the pilot’s legs (and emergency responder labels.

The Escape Pod is powered by a 25-hp Cors-Air M-21Y and Powerfin three-blade propeller. An unpowered variation, called the Pod Racer, is also available and is launched via a winch or aerotow.
 
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The powered Escape Pod and unpowered Pod Racer can be used with any hang glider wing that will accommodate the weight of chassis, pilot, engine, fuel and parachute system.
 
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Like most trikes, the Escape Pod can be broken down small enough for storage in your garage or in the corner of your hangar. Its light weight will allow loading to trailer or pickup.
 
Riggs was anticipating that the Escape Pod would fly by the fall of 2004
 
 
 
 


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