--> Petersen's Complete Ford Book - 3rd Edition

Petersen's Ford Book - 3rd Edition - 1973

From: Petersen's Complete Ford Book - 3rd Edition

Flying Pinto
Flying cars come and flying cars go ...
bet you haven't seen the latest.

BY KAL LAHUE

Appearing in the mythology of ancient Greece and other cultures with regularity, man's fascination with the concept of a winged horse dates back to the very antiquity of time, but Mobil's flying horse notwithstanding, it took the technology of the 20th century to bring it to life. Well, horses still can't fly, but Ford's popular Pinto has recently acquired a new set of wings, a new name and a whole new horizon, courtesy of Advanced Vehicle Engineers (AVE) of Van Nuys, Calif. (Bet you'd laugh your boots off if we didn't have the pictures to prove it!)


Above - You'd never guess what's under these multicolored wraps, but it cost over $1 million to bring to this point, so it had better be good, right?

But it's no joking matter for Pinto lovers, and by the time you read this, AVE will be well on it's way to obtaining FAA certification for it's AVE aircar, to be known as the Mizar, and production lines will be just around the corner. AVE has been in the business designing, and perfecting the Mizar since 1968 and sees it as a prototype of the flying car of the future. Now, as everybody knows, flying cars come and go periodically, so what exactly is the future for a flying Pinto? According to the research that has motivated AVE to this point, it's sufficient to warrant the investment of better than $1 million-and that, friends, is not hay.


Above - Right, and good it is. That's OK, rub your eyes and take a second look - by golly, it IS a Flying Pinto!

By the close of the "Soaring Seventies," the number of general aviation craft in use is projected at 235,000-plus, or roughly double the number in use when the company began work 5 years ago. It's also anticipated that those that fly private aircraft will double in number from 300,000-to 600,000-plus. Single- engine, four-seat planes seem to be the most popular, and that's exactly the market segment to which the Mizar is directed. As about 80% of all non-commercial flights are of 500 miles or less, the Mizar's 1000-plus-mile range at cruising speed (with reserve) puts it right in the ball game.

AVAILABILITY

The Mizar, which takes it's name from the next-to-the-last star in the Big Dipper and means, "horse," will be made available in three models that differ primarily in engine size.An Avco Lycoming 540-series powerplant will be offered in 235,260 and 300-hp versions. Other specifications include a gross weight of 4700 lbs.; a fuel capacity of 93 gals consumed at the rate of 13 gals. per hour at the 130-mph cruising speed; a maximum speed of 170-mph with a service ceiling of 16,000 ft.; a passenger/baggage load factor of 1400/360 lbs.; an overall length of 28 1/2 ft. with a 38-ft. wing span and a wing area of 202 sq. ft. The whole thing stands a mere 8 1/2 ft. AVE sees it as being ideal for the commuter business use and recreational market, which has grown by leaps and bounds during the past decade. Can't you just see the look on your neighbor's face when he compares his new RV with yours?

Planned as a dual-use vehicle to fly long-distance travel and the operate as a conventional automobile for local surface travel, here's how the Mizar works. Equipped with it's pusher-type aircraft engine, the Mizar airframe will be kept on telescopic supports at a convenient airport. You drive the AVE-modified Pinto to the hanger and back under the airframe. A self aligning track incorporated into both units makes attachment an easy job that requires less than two minutes to complete. All flight controls and instrument hookups will be made with an umbilical connection, while structural connections will be locked in place with self-locking high-strength pins in the structurally linked track assembly and wing support connections. An on-going development program will slightly alter the connection system to be used since it's planned to do away with the wing support struts.


Above Left - And here's the pretty little lady test pilot, AVE Vice-President Lois McDonald, Let's take a look inside. Above Middle - Flight control instruments added to Mizar dash include air speed and rate of climb indicators, altimeter, directional gyro, fuel pressure gauges, throttle, flap switch, trim tab and radio navigational equipment. Above Left - Cabin reinforcement in form of hidden roll-type bar is major internal structural change. Covered bar extends 360 around the inside.

READY FOR TAKEOFF

Once this is accomplished, you'll taxi to the end of the runaway using the auto engine. After checking out the aircraft powerplant for pre-flight, you're ready for takeoff using both the regular Pinto and aircraft engines. While the later has sufficient power by itself to lift the Mizar off the ground, use of the automotive engine at the same time will provide a shorter takeoff roll. Once you're airborne, the car's engine is shut off. Landings will be made on the rear wheels during touchdown, followed by a four-wheel braking to a stop in 525 ft. or less.


Above - Prototype uses external linkages to operate airframe controls, but these will all be incorporated internally in the production model.

After taxiing into position on the ground at your destination, the Mizar airframe is easily disconnected from the Pinto. Its telescopic wing supports are let down and the unit tied to conventional aircraft tiedowns for parking and storage until you are ready to hook up for the return flight. Now comes the drive into town to conduct your business or just to shake up Pinto enthusiasts attracted by that slightly unusual looking roof line, who then peek inside and see the aircraft instruments in the car's dash. Explaining that to curious on-lookers alone is worth the price of admission. By now, you're probably wondering something. Not just everyone will be able to pilot his Pinto to-and-fro in this manner. You'll need a regular pilot's license just as you were flying a Piper Cub or Cessna.


Above Left - Wing support struts will not be used on production model, eliminating some of the Mizars present awkward look. Above Right - Custom painting was done by Orv Dittmann, well known in Southern California for his work on vans.

AVE was founded as a privately-held California corporation by Henry Smolinski, who's president and chairman of the board. Its goal is to find solutions to transportation problems. Smolinski is a graduate of Northrup Aeronautical Institute, and has been involved in nearly every phase of the aircraft industry in the past two decades. The Mizar is his personal contribution to aviation's future. It will be offered for sale through the auspices of Galpin Ford and the Bert Boeckmann Co. (BBC) of Sepulveda, Calif., which has a national distribution agreement with AVE, BBC was formed by H. D Boeckmann (who owns and operates Galpin Ford, thus the Flying Pinto and not the Vega), solely to distribute the Mizar, and it's rumored that distribution rights brought $1 million into the AVE coffers. Since acquiring the rights, BBC has been absorbed into Galpin Ford, which will establish dealerships through the United States. Once the program in the air - so to speak - it's designers intend to institute the necessary modifications to create Flying Vegas, Firebird, and other similar hybrids. It is anticipated that development costs will be recouped from the sale of the first 475 Mizars, and AVE expects to sell that number within 30 months after the Pinto's first flight.

PROTOTYPE

For those auto enthusiast not familiar with aircraft, AVE has capitalized on existing product design in the aircraft as well as the automotive industry. The Prototype airframe came from a Cessna Skymaster, but once production is underway, AVE will produce by subcontractors. At this time, the corporation does not envision engaging in full-scale auto/plane manufacturing, but will contract instead with outside manufactures for airframe, STOL device, aircraft engine, flight instruments, etc.. Then they will assemble the components into finished Mizars.


Above - Mizar prototype is equipped with Teledyne Continental 210-hp engine, but this AVCO Lycoming 540 series will replace it for FAA certification tests.

The prototype which you see pictured here was equipped with a Teledyne Continental 210-hp engine for the initial tests and was first unveiled to the press on May 8, 1973 at Van Nuys airport where it was given a series of taxi tests. After the taxi tests for the press, the Mizar was scheduled for a concentrated series of engineering flight and demonstration tests as well as static display a Galpin's showroom and at several upcoming Southern California auto shows. A public relations agency has been retained to focus attention on the Mizar. Behind the scenes, a second Flying Pinto is being test flown for FAA certification. AVE ran afoul of an annoying bureaucratic ruling in its quest for FAA certification. It seems that no plane without it can leave the ground at Van Nuys or any other metropolitan California airport, yet certification cannot be granted until it has undergone a complete flight test program as specified by the FAA. As a result, AVE had to make special arrangements to test fly the Mizar at the Navy's test facility point Mugu, Calif.


Above Left - AVE's Henry Schroeder (left) and Hal Blake (right) demonstrate how collapsible wing supports for parking your wings will work on the production model, prototype is not equiped with them. Above Right - It's a pitty the Mizar can't be driven on the road as is; can you imagine seeing this in front of him?

Within a few weeks after the completion of the initial FAA evaluation, the AVE Mizar prototype will make a year - long tour of 40 major cities in the U.S. as part of a program to develop public interest and line up potential dealerships. Bert Boeckmann has nothing solid at this time in the way of a commitment from FoMoCo, but fully expects that Ford will lend its considerable support to the Mizar, and with the number of their cars he sells, there's no reason why they shouldn't. Three additional units presently being assembled will be used to complete FAA flight certification program during the tour of the prototype.


Above - Lois McDonald taxis the Mizar onto a runway at Van Nuys airport to begin the taxi-test demonstration.

As was said earlier, flying cars have come and flying cars have gone over the past half-century, but if this one tickles your fancy, you'd better start saving your pennies today. production is scheduled to begin in 1974 and the modified Pinto carries a base price of $5974. The three different airframes are expected to sell for $12,319, $17,440 and $22,974 - or about half the price of an aircraft with the same specs. You can drive/fly your own Mizar off the lot for between $18,3000 and $29,000. In the meantime, step right up - who's going to be the first on the block to own the ultimate in bolt-on Pinto modifications - and be the envy of all your friends! Uses could be endless. Can't you see it now?

Be right back ma.... I'm going to fly over to the supper market!"


Above - And here it comes! AVE engineers have actually had the thing a couple feet off the ground (don't tell the FAA) and admit the the temptation to head into the wild blue yonder was strong.

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