Rutan's « Pond Racer » design is back! (or is it?)

Stargazer2006

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The odds of ever seeing the ill-fated « Pond Racer » design in the air again must have been next to nil...

So what about the odds of a small Finnish company taking over the design to turn into a range of UAVs?

But that's exactly what's happening at the moment. Finland-based RPVS.eu is a company specialized in software and hardware engineering for remotely piloted vehicles and related accessories. Their main page show the photo of a flying sub-scale replica of the Scaled Composites racer (complete with original markings and registration, except it's in yellow livery), and here is what they say just below about their line of products:

Etusivukuva.png

One of our main product line is missile target planes for armed forces. These products can be upgrade with multible sensors and options. These target planes are build to fly higher and faster than many normal size aeroplanes by using advanced variable pitch propellers and turbo chargers which are from our own drawing board. Controlling software and groundstation is also been tested with small ground vehicles to make it suitable for multiple needs.

The Scaled Composites connection seems to be going beyond a simple license thing. Under the May 2013 entry, we can read that "the Pond Racer fuselage arrived for testing." This proves that not only the fuselage (or whatever remains of it) of Bob Pond's aircraft was salvaged, but that it was sent to Finland for RPVS.eu to test it! And so it is safe to assume that Scaled Composites probably also provides research data and expertise from the original program.

Logo.png


If we are to judge only from the website and the near-total absence of media coverage over RPVS.eu, the project looks more like wishful thinking than anything at this point (and from a company who can't even spell "vehicle" properly in their logo!). A quick look at the Products page shows supposedly three different types, the ArTa 25 low flying target for artillery, the MiTa 30 high flying missile target plane and the Vimana 50 UAV scout plane... but if you take a closer look, you can see that all three images really only show one and the same Pond Racer desktop model from different angles!

ArTa.png
MiTa.png
Vinama.png


Anyway... what we have here, is a company who proposes to use the basic Pond Racer design and turn it into a range of distinct military UAVs for different missions. Pretty cool, uh? Could be. Or maybe not. One of the engineers that worked on the original aircraft once told me that some aspects of the Model 158 design were flawed because of a few bad choices that were made (wish I still had the e-mail he sent me so I wouldn't have to quote from memory). Could that explain why the Pond Racer crashed? Well at least here, no pilot will be killed... But if there's something wrong with the Pond Racer design, they sure had better solve it before taking the ArTa, MiTa and Vimana to the production line...
 

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perttime

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My guess is that what you see in the photo is the airframe of a pretty big Pond Racer R/C model. German company Air-C-Race used to produce them but probably didn't sell very many.
http://www.air-c-race.de/index.php/company/our-history/item/97-2004

I don't remember what size exactly they made it. Somewhere between 3 and 5 meter span, I'm sure.

I thought it was well accepted that the real Pond Racer crashed because they didn't manage to get the Nissan V6 race engines to run properly. I'm sure a quick googling will find more details.

edit:
rpvs.fi seems to belong to a company named "Maya Factory", which recently got awarded €13 510, for developing a business idea, by the Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
 

TsrJoe

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the company had the model (the company mentioned they just had the one development prototype flying as yet) on display along with its engine turbocharger at the recent Lappeenranta airshow, i wil try resize the images and post them up B)
 

perttime

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Jämi Fly In doesn't list them as exhibitors... but I'm going anyway. Weather forecast looks promising.
http://www.jamiflyin.com/eng
 

Stargazer2006

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TsrJoe said:
the company had the model (the company mentioned they just had the one development prototype flying as yet) on display along with its engine turbocharger at the recent Lappeenranta airshow, i wil try resize the images and post them up B)

By all means, please do!! ;D

perttime said:
Jämi Fly In doesn't list them as exhibitors... but I'm going anyway. Weather forecast looks promising.

Hope you make some great photos there! B)
 

perttime

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I don't have a good camera - but occasionally it happens that I get a half decent shot anyway... Depends on weather an how close I can get. Oh ... what the heck. I'll attach one from last year. Close enough but light was not perfect enough.

Looks like I got lost in the Air-C-Race website. Their shop still shows the 293 cm span Pond Racer.
http://acr-composite-gmbh.acr-composite.com/product_info.php?info=p12_pond-racer.html
 

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