Motorcycle with wings: Kit makes aircraft street legal

Tony Horvath, left, owner of Specialty Aero, and pilot Sean Van Hatten with the Glasair Sportsman GS-2 airplane in its roadable configuration. (David Patton/Democrat-Herald)

Tony Horvath, left, owner of Specialty Aero, and pilot Sean Van Hatten with the Glasair Sportsman GS-2
airplane in its roadable configuration. (David Patton/Democrat-Herald)


August 22, 2013 11:02 am • By Steve Lundeberg, Albany Democrat-Herald

For Specialty Aero pilot Sean Van Hatten, it’s a dash of intrigue that sets apart the craft the Creswell firm will display at this weekend’s ATI Northwest
Art & Air Festival.
“The real fun,” he says, “is when you drive it to an airport, convert it into a plane and fly away like James Bond.”
Van Hatten, 23, and his boss, Specialty Aero owner Tony Horvath, made a pre-fest run to Albany on Wednesday morning, giving a half-dozen
onlookers at the airport a sneak preview of the PD-2.
The PD-2, a “roadable kit” for the Glasair Sportsman GS-2 experimental, folding-wing, single-prop aircraft, is the idea of Trey Johnson, founder of
Plane Driven of Renton, Wash. Johnson started his company in late 2009 and enlisted the services of Horvath, an engineer with a longtime interest in
aviation.
“He’s a dreamer,” said Horvath, 32. “He comes up with off-the-wall, crazy ideas you’d think would never work, and then he says figure out how to
make it work, and it evolves into something you can actually make work.”
At the kit’s core is a 193-pound, 50-horsepower, 450cc motor from a Kawasaki four-wheeler; the engine chain-drives a motorcycle wheel, and the
whole unit bolts into place under the rear of the plane when driving, and detaches and is hauled in the backseat area when the craft is in the air.
Specialty Aero’s plane has 4,400 road miles to its credit, Horvath said, including a two-day, 1,019-mile journey from Rapid City, S.D., to Moses Lake,
Wash.
The roadable kit includes a windshield wiper, prop-mounted turn signals, steerable front wheels and a license plate and makes the airplane street
legal; with three wheels, it’s classified by the Oregon DMV as a motorcycle, meaning an endorsement is required to drive it.
In the air, it behaves “exactly like a Glasair Sportsman, which it should, because it’s primary purpose is as an airplane,” Van Hatten says.
But that secondary purpose enables, among other things, the plane to keep traveling, wings folded back, when weather conditions make flying
impossible. It drives comfortably at 60 mph, said Horvath, who has had it up to 77 (in the air, powered by a 200hp Lycoming IO-390 motor, it can
Tony Horvath, left, owner of Specialty Aero, and pilot Sean Van Hatten with the Glasair Sportsman GS-2
airplane in its roadable configuration. (David Patton/Democrat-Herald)
Hot-air balloons lifted off as scheduled this morning from Albany’s Timber-Linn Memorial Park, kicking off the three-day ATI Northwest
Art &am… Read more
cruise at 140).
Range is about 200 miles on the road and 470 in the air; both motors run on 100-octane aviation gas from the same fuel tank, the only part the
driving and flying systems share.
It takes about 30 minutes to convert from plane to car, and approximately 45 minutes from car to plane.
Plane Driven is just to the point of being ready to sell its kits, which it plans to price at less than $60,000, installed.
The demo plane will arrive back in Albany for the festival, for which admission is free, on Saturday morning.
For more information on Plane Driven, visit planedriven.com or email Johnson at trey@planedriven.com.
Horvath can be reached at 541-729-9832 or specialtyaero
@gmail.com.

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