Innovative Fly-Drive Vehicle's Complex Power Transmission
The other day, we introduced the Super Sky Cycle in an article
titled "A Motorcycle with Altitude" which is The Butterfly, LLC's
trademark for their innovative fly-drive vehicle. The Sky Cycle is
licensed as a motorcycle for street travel, and as an experimental
aircraft for air travel.
Aviation's history is replete with vehicles which promised to
combine flying with driving. Every one of them is a compromise, or
perhaps you could say a hybrid: it favors either its aeronautical
parent or its automotive one. The Super Sky Cycle, beginning with a
flying aircraft, is biased towards the sky.
No one will mistake this trike for the ones that show up at
Laconia, Sturgis or Daytona. But it still manages to have a certain
It's an outgrowth of the popular Butterfly gyroplanes; in fact,
all the components of the Sky Cycle can be retrofitted to previous
Monarch and Butterfly gyros.
Let's See How It Works
These pictures, the first of the Sky Cycle chassis and
automotive running gear, give you an idea of the complex but robust
system that Larry Neal has developed for making his gyroplane
The photo (above left) shows most of the drivetrain of a Sky
Cycle. The slightly smaller version of the same photo in the right,
has callouts that tell you what's what in the Sky Cycle's
drivetrain. The blue ones relate to air propulsion, and the tan
ones to ground.
1. Rotax 582 engine
2. Propeller Clutch (to be fitted). Allows stopping the prop for
4. Automotive clutch
5. Primary Drive (inside white tube)
6. Shock/strut for G-Force Magnum landing gear.
7. Secondary Drive (shaft with U-joints) 8. Final Drive (chain) 9.
Not shown: Prerotator drive.
The next photo (above) shows the rear-drive geometry of the
machine in detail. Note that this depicts the G-Force Magnum
landing gear at the absolute rock bottom of its 22-inch stroke.
When the aircraft is in flight, the gear dangles down, like the
legs of a flying insect. On touchdown, the gear can absorb
punishing g-loads with no hazard to machine or pilot.
The one problem that has cropped up in ground testing to date
has been vibration, which has been tracked to the secondary
driveshaft universal joints. New shafts which replace these parts
with dynamically balanced one are in preparation.
As the image (above) shows, the final drive is accomplished in
classic motorcycle fashion: by chain. The system, despite its
spindly look, is designed to handle significantly more power than
the Sky Cycle's hard-working Rotax 582 is capable of putting
The Butterfly. LLC: A Business Update
The Butterfly, LLC exhibit at Sun-n-Fun is in a perfect
position, inescapable by anyone who makes the long slog to
Choppertown. Getting there is half the battle, as the trams are
relatively infrequent and it's a tough walk -- and Choppertown
could probably be better advertised nearer show center. But for
those that get there, their first impression is the Butterfly
A wide array of familiar faces (at least, in the rotorcraft
community) congregate there, both out of curiosity about these new
developments, and to see old friends now associated with Butterfly,
a group that includes Larry Neal (of course), Brad King, Heron
Souza and Kerry Cartier. (And I'm probably forgetting
Heron told me that most of the initial batch of
Butterfly/Monarch single-seaters has been sold, but that two-seat
Golden Butterfly trainers remain in stock. (Some Golden buyers may
have been holding out for the turbo option). So far, the company
has been financed entirely privately -- out of Larry's pockets,
primarily. The company that produces and finances Butterfly kits is
seeking further investment. As previously promised, in the near
future we're going to present more information on Larry's business
plans, which are entirely as creative as this dual-purpose
gyroplane drivetrain, but for the impatient reader who wants to see
more of the business plan, we recommend you check out www.newhorizonscomponentsllc.com.