Just mention the name DeLorean and even today most people will conjure a vision of Doc Brown’s sleek, gull-winged car from Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 film Back to the Future. There was a time when that might have been enough recognition for DeLorean, but no longer.
With the recent unveiling of the DeLorean Aerospace’s DR-7, it’s finally time to move ahead. The DR-7 is DeLorean’s vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that only exists at the moment in ⅓ scale-model form to prove the physics.
DeLorean Aerospace was founded in 2012 with a mission to bring the freedom and exhilaration of personal air transportation to the masses.
The DR-7 will manoeuvre with a pair of 360 degree thrust-vectoring electric ducted fan units the company says will make the aircraft extremely stable.
The DR-7's carbon composite body is a monocoque structure, similar to a Formula 1 race car, and will accommodate two passengers in a fighter-jet style tandem seating arrangement.
The VTOL aircraft uses an autonomous flight control system that will also allow manual operation for the performance flying enthusiast. DeLorean says the aircraft is expected to be flown with minimal pilot training.
With its centreline twin vectoring propulsion system (CTV), drag is greatly reduced, while the fuselage functions as an aerofoil to improve efficiency and increase low speed stall resistance. The thrust vectoring fan system eliminates the need for a rudder, further reducing drag and allowing higher cruising speeds.
Preliminary specifications released by DeLorean Aerospace, founded by carmaker John DeLorean’s nephew Paul, show the DR-7 will be just under 6 meters in length, short enough to fit in most home garages. When the 5.7 meter wings are folded, the resulting aircraft is just 2.3 meters in width.
DeLorean expects the two-seat aircraft to fly 120 miles (193 km) on a single charge and cruise at 150 mph(240 km/h) with a top speed of 240 mph(380 km/h).
The DR-7 prototype is expected to fly by the end of 2018