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Fri, Aug 01, 2008

Carter Aviation Technologies Announces Development Partners

Jay Carter Hints At Dramatic Demo Flight Ahead

by ANN Senior E-Media Producer Paul Plack

There's an old saying which holds, "you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps." If that wisdom can be extended to businesses, Carter Aviation Technologies is in great company as it pursues development of its next-generation Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) prototype.

At a Thursday morning press conference at AirVenture, company President Jay Carter, Jr. and newly-named VP of Business Development and Marketing Anita Infante discussed the contributions of an impressive list of partners to the development of Carter’s revolutionary, Slowed Rotor/Compound (SR/C) Aircraft technology.

One major departure from the original CarterCopter is replacement of the small-block Chevrolet V8 powerplant, which the company says politely, "proved difficult to integrate for flight use." Instead, the new PAV will start with a Lycoming IO 540 for initial flight testing, allowing estimated speeds of 180 MPH at 7,500 feet. A later upgrade is planned to the 350 HP, twin turbo-charged TIO 540 engine, estimated to allow 210 mph at full power at 7,500 ft, 223 mph at 12,500 ft or 242 mph at 20,000 ft.

Ultrimately, Carter intends to use Lycoming's just-introduced, multi-fuel, IE2 version of the engine to allow the automation and versatility that Carter has envisioned for the PAV.

To control the aircraft, Carter is turning to Blue Mountain Avionics (BMA), a Tennessee company which has developed a reputation for putting cutting-edge avionics and autoilot capabilities in the hands of homebuilders. The Blue Mountain EFIS/Two panels will provide navigation and guidance, and the Blue Mountain autopilot is being extended to control the PAV as easily as any aircraft.

BMA President Greg Richter observed, "flying a rotorcraft may be harder than flying an airplane, but flying both at the same time is a real challenge. Carter’s PAV requires advanced electronics to make it easy to fly and simple to operate, and the controllers I've designed operate the Tilting Mast, Landing Gear, Prop, Data Collection, video and RADAR altimetry and are all visible via a high-power Ethernet air to ground data network.”

The original Carter prototype had a pressurized cabin. The initial PAV prototype will not be pressurized, so Sky Ox Oxygen Systems will be used for high altitude flight-testing and long range cruise. As the prototype progresses, Ice Management Systems will integrate a de-icing system for the aircraft. Concorde Battery and AeroShell are providing product support.

Jay Carter, Jr. expressed excitement at seeing progress on the prototype. “Our first prototype was built exclusively for our own research and development purposes – to prove our technology. Now we are looking at the refinements of the technology and how we can best impact the marketplace. The help of these new partnerships is invaluable. They are enabling us to use advanced technology that they have created to improve our capability and reliability. Together we will have defined a revolutionary new aircraft.”

The PAV concept builds on experience with the earlier CarterCopter, a two-seat technology test bed which functioned as a jump-gyroplane for takeoff and low-speed flight, then gradually transitioned to flight as an airplane at higher speeds, using small wings to unload the rotor. Using proprietary technolgy to allow slowing of the rotor in high speed flight for reduced drag, the original CarterCopter achieved speeds of 170 MPH in forward flight, and could then reload the rotor for landing as a gyroplane, using inertia stored in tip-weighted rotorblades, and Carter's patented smart landing gear.

The new PAV will be a four-seater capable of vertical takeoff and landing, and forward speeds as high as 242 MPH at 20,000 feet. The craft will benefit not only from Carter's proven rotor, technology and landing gear technology, but also from a new tilting rotor mast which can adjust its angle to accommodate varying CG, hold the high-speed wings at their optimum angle-of-attack under all flight conditions, and even allow a landing flare without requiring the fuselage to depart from its level attitude. Carter says the PAV's new main gear can absorb straight-down autorotative landings at descent rates of 20 - 24 feet per second, depending on load, and can be sacrificed in an emergency landing at up to 36 feet per second.

First flight of the PAV prototype is slated for December, barring any major problems, and expected to take place in Texas. The news conference at AirVenture was sprinkled with hints which, together, suggest Carter is planning a demonstration flight covering 5,000 miles in 24 hours, unrefueled, starting with a vertical takeoff. Stay tuned!

FMI: www.cartercopters.com

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