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Stout Skycar
Spratt-Stout Model 8
Convair 103
 
Stout-AC-1
 
William Bushnell Stout was a designer of road vehicles and aircraft, including the Ford Trimotor series. He was founder of the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Company and in 1931 designed the Skycar which was specified for easy handling and provided with automobile-style comfort. Single examples of four variations on the basic design were produced between 1931 and 1944.
 
Stout-AC-2
 
The Skycar I was first displayed at the spring 1931 Detroit Show and first flown in 1931. The aircraft was a two-seat high-wing monoplane, accommodating the occupants in tandem layout. It had an all-metal steel-tube frame covered with corrugated metal skin. Centre-line nose and tail-wheels plus a standard landing gear were fitted. The rear fuselage was constructed from an open framework carrying a single fin and rudder, inside which was located the rear pusher engine. The Sky Car was displayed with a Moorhouse engine (Alfred Moorhouse of Detroit, assignor to Packard Motor Car Company). Fuel was carried in two tanks in the leading portion of the central section of the engine housing, from where it was fed by gravity to the engine. At a later date the aircraft was fitted with twin booms carrying the single fin and rudder (see photo of preserved aircraft). The aircraft featured balanced pivoting outboard wingtips rather than ailerons. Stout attempted to design a simple aircraft that would have controls similar to early model Fords including the ignition switch and the starter button. Stout planned to build the Sky Car (i.e. its original name was "Sky Car" but various newspaper and magazine articles spelled it "Skycar") and sell it at the price of a moderately priced car (approximately $2000) if mass-produced in numbers.
The Skycar I, sometimes referred to as the Model 11-W. It was flown as a personal aircraft by Stout for several years and was later donated to the Smithsonian Institution. It is on display in the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport Virginia.
 
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The National Air Museum initiated acquisition of the aircraft from the University of Detroit in the late 1940s and found that the entire fuselage, wing center section, and landing gear were missing. While available parts were shipped to the Museum's storage facility in Park Ridge, Illinois, Stout funded the building of replica parts by the General Metalcraft Company of Phoenix, Arizona. This restoration, completed in 1951, represents the Skycar in a later development phase.
 
The Skycar II of 1941 was a higher-powered version utilising stainless steel construction and twin tail booms. The four-wheel landing gear was intended to facilitate a later rebuild to roadability which never occurred. It was built with support from Fred Fisher of General Motors.
 
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stout-skycar2
 
The Skycar II was evaluated by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as the XC-65 light transport. It was destroyed in a hangar fire circa 1942.
 
The Skycar III of 1943 had a higher-powered Lycoming engine to enable operation at higher gross weight, but was otherwise simailar to the Skycar II.
 
The Skycar III was tested by the USAAF as the XC-107.
 
William Bushnell Stout's formula for successful aircraft de­sign was 'simplicate and add more lightness'. To 'simplicate' his Skycar IV he called upon George Spratt, inventor of an articulated wing which could tilt in any direction to command movement in pitch, roll or yaw. Because the Spratt Wing eliminated all other control surfaces, Stout was able to design a stubby, compact fuselage/car body which looked like a giant beetle. The Skycar IV of 1944 was also known as the Spratt-Stout Model 8 and the Convair 103. It was similar to the Skycar III with twin tail-booms, but fitted with twin fins and rudders.
 
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Convair 103 / Spratt-Stout 8 Skycar Convair 103 (NX22448)
 
The Skycar was reportedly very easy to fly, and took less than five minutes to pre­pare for road use. It was evaluated in 1946 by Consolidated Vultee (later Convair).
 
 
Variants:
 
Skycar I
75 hp (56 kW) Michigan Rover R-267 pusher engine, later 90 hp (67 kW) Warner Junior. (1 built)
 
Skycar II

90 hp (67 kW) Franklin O-200 pusher engine. Gross weight 1550 lbs. (1 built)

 

Skycar III
125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290 pusher engine. Gross weight 1825 lbs. (1 built)
 
Skycar IV
90 hp (67 kW) Franklin 4ACG pusher engine, later 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290C. (1 built)
 
Specifications:
 
Skycar I
Engine: 1 × Michigan Rover R-267, 75 hp ( kW)
Length: 24 ft 0 in ( m)
Wingspan: 43 ft 0 in ( m)
Useful lift: 480 lb ( kg)
Maximum speed: 95 mph ( km/h)
Cruise speed: 80 mph ( km/h)
Stall speed: 35 mph ( km/h)
Range: 320 miles ( km)
Crew: 1
 
Capacity: 1 passenger
Wing span: 12.2 m (40 ft.)
Length: 7.32 m (24 ft.)
Height: 2.13 m (6 ft.)
Weight, Empty: 430.9 kg (950 lbs.)
Weight, Gross: 647 kg (1,425 lbs.)
Stout-AC-ld.jpg 27
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Skycar I

75 hp (56 kW) Michigan Rover R-267 pusher engine, later 90 hp (67 kW) Warner Junior. (1 built)

 

Skycar II

90 hp (67 kW) Franklin O-200 pusher engine. Gross weight 1550 lbs. (1 built)

 

Skycar III

125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290 pusher engine. Gross weight 1825 lbs. (1 built)

 

Skycar IV

90 hp (67 kW) Franklin 4ACG pusher engine, later 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290C. (1 built)

 


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