August 13, 2008 Now here’s an interesting concept – announced at Airventure 08, the MotoPOD RV-10 cargo pod fits underneath a light aircraft and carries a street-legal motorcycle. It takes three minutes to remove the modified Yamaha XT225 and the whole package including motorcycle is anticipated to be under US$10,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Given most small airports are not located near ground transportation services, and the comprehensive and convenient total trip transport innovation dramatically reduces point-to-point times at an affordable price.
AVWeb has some additional info on the kit, which has been tested on a four-seat Van's Aircraft RV-10 kitbuilt experimental aircraft and the additional frontal area and drag and 230 kg weight cut roughly 9 knots from the airspeed. The pods are aimed at aircraft such as the Cirrus SR22, Cessna 182 and similar-sized models and locks in place with a pin system. Extracting the motorcycle is done via a winch which lowers the pod to the ground – from there you need to unfold the handlebars and your ground transport is ready to go.
There’s obviously been a lot of thought put into the choice of motorcycle too - the XT225 is very economical, very light and more than fast enough to get you thrown in the slammer for speeding. Perhaps a year or three down the track there will be an electric motorcycle capable of taking its place - though the Yamaha’s modifications include additional plumbing to prevent gasoline getting out, I’m sure everyone would be more comfortable if flammable liquids were entirely absent.
MotoPOD is now accepting US$1000 fully-refundable (for any reason, including “change of mind”) deposits that secure a production serial number for the kit and first deliveries are expected in late 2008. The expected purchase price for pods and motorcycles will be $8,000 to $10,000 each and “special discounts will be available for the first customers”.
The sales pitch is very compelling and is based around the concept of looking beyond a plane’s cruise speed and considering the entire trip speed including air and ground legs. When you consider that two thirds of all airports are too small to have their own car rental facilities, the time taken to get a taxi or hire a car can be considerable.
MotoPOD claims that by reducing inter-modal transportation delays to a minimum, it can increase typical trip speed by 10 to 25%.
Many thanks to my old trail-riding buddy Martin Hone for the tip on the story. Martin now lives in an air park and recently emailed me to say he is still astonished at the affinity between motorcyclists and pilots – nearly everyone in the aviation community he lives within also owns a motorcycle. Just to keep it all in the extended family, Martin saw the MotoPod on the new aviation web site of another old friend and colleague – Guy Allen – check out Guido’s new site here.
Guido’s new site http://www.allflying.com