750-HP Bipe Designed For Airshows
Imagine, if you will, a 1,650-lb biplane... powered by a
750-horsepower turboprop engine, delivering close to 3,000-lbs of
thrust. If your heartbeat quickened reading the previous sentence,
you're just the kind of aero-head Infinity Entertainment had in
mind when conceiving the Turbine Toucan ultra-high performance
bipe, which made its official debut Wednesday.
Billed by the company as the world's first-ever hovering
biplane, the Turbine Toucan is expected to make its first flight
later this month. Designed specifically for the airshow circuit,
the company expects the Toucan to make attempts at four world
records by the end of 2007, including the 66-year-old biplane speed
record of 323 miles per hour.
The company tells ANN it also hopes to establish two new
time-to-climb records, as well as becoming the first-ever biplane
to hover over a set point on the ground.
The Toucan brings impressive punch to those attempts. Infinity
states the Turbine Toucan is the only civilian aircraft with a
positive thrust-to-weight ratio. To put this in perspective, the
F/A-18 Hornet (at fighter mission weight) weights 36,700 lbs... and
has 32,000 lbs of thrust. This works out to a .87:1
thrust-to-weight ratio. In comparison, the Turbine Toucan's
performance is better than 1.5:1 with pilot and fuel.
According to figures posted on the company's website, the Toucan
will be able to climb at 9500/fpm, and roll 360
degrees in just over one second. Maximum G-loading rates are
forecast to be +9g/-7.5g... on par with some military fighter
Infinity Entertainment makes no bones about the purpose of the
Turbine Toucan: to bring something different to the air show
circuit, which is attended by over 18 million people annually in
the US alone.
"Why a biplane?" Infinity asks on its website. "Because 90% of
the elite air show performers are using off the shelf, factory
built monoplanes (which are incredible we might add) designed for
unlimited aerobatic competition. We needed to stand apart. Biplanes
offer strong emotional association with the romance of flight. It
also allows us to be highly differentiated with the use of a
turboprop power plant. A biplane allows us to draw rich cues deep
from the past while incorporating contemporary styling and the
latest aviation technological innovations."
And, from the sound of it... the ability to kick some serious
tailfeathers, as well...