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Post-Apocalyptic Flying Buggy
Paraglider with 44 cells and left/right brake/big ear controls. Flat 4-cylinder aero engine with foldable 3-blade propeller and frame. 4 PF XL wheel hub motors with 2-channel RC skid steering driven by PF battery pack. 1 30mm belt-feed, auto-loading machinegun in manual turret, 2 portable RPG-launchers (all spring driven shooting). Crew: 2 Bionicle/Technic pilots. Scale=1:10.
About this creation

Figure 1: ParaBuggy in power dive
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See model in LDD

1 Introduction and inspiration

Our ParaBuggy MOC is a piece of concept art but it is strictly tied to principles of physics and engineering. It is a 1:10 scale model of a military two-seat paramotor buggy, which can be used for reconnaissance in force, liaison work, drop agents behind enemy lines, etc. It bases on the “drive when you cannot fly, and fly where you cannot drive”-principle: It can fly slow (below 50 knots) and low (below 4000 feet) only a short distance (less than 100 miles), but it can cross obstacles (rivers, mountains, rainforests, swamps, fortified lines) by air where its offroad capacities would fail. On the other hand, it can take off/land in a very short strip (20-30 yards), be folded, and driven away as conventional dune buggy to avoid AA-artillery. Moreover it has very compact road dimensions and retractable suspension, making it suitable for long range airlift by heavy helicopters or cargo aircrafts. All these required squeezing 2 power functions, 17 manual functions and 19 non-working features in a 17-stud wide chassis:


Figure 2: ParaBuggy functions overview
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See model in LDD

Before creating ParaBuggy, we studied existing real paramotor buggies:

ParaJet SkyCar ’s previous version made a heroic attempt to fly from London to Morocco in several tracks. The experiment was partly successful, resulting in lot of experiences which ParaJet incorporated in current model. Unfortunately, it turned to be a commercial failure causing serious financial difficulties for the UK-based company.


Figure 3: ParaJet SkyCar

Maverick LSA Flying Car is still in research phase by a much better financed US company. It has the unique feature among paramotor buggies having a detachable mast + flexible cross boom solution, to hold paraglider in air before start. This eliminates the need of flat 30-yard strip for takeoff (to prevent paraglider shredded by rough terrain). But this can cause serious difficulties when the vehicle has to takeoff/land in considerable wind: it is questionable whether the mast and boom can be collapsed enough fast to prevent the vehicle dragged by wind-blown paraglider. Against ParaJet’s single-engine solution, Maverick has separate engines for air- and road modes.


Figure 4: Maverick LSA Flying Car

Regarding the Brick Universe, we found one serious attempt to build paramotor buggy:
Mathew Wilson modeled Maverick’s Flying car in minifig scale skillfully, with lot of details, even building the Mast + boom structure:


Figure 5: Mathew Wilson Maverick Flying car MOC

As we are modeling in scale 1:10, we wanted to build more detailed and functional model. Considering weight a relative weakness of TLG parts, it is physically impossible to build motorized vehicle from Lego, which can really fly. We intended to build a small, but fast RC buggy, which at least can make short jumps into the air if it is attached to a reasonably sized paraglider kite toy.

2 Action screenshots of ParaBuggy

*For considerable part of rendering and artwork, very special thanks to C BigBoy99899

As an extra modeling challenge, we designed ParaBuggy with the smallest possible chassis for 2 Bionicle/Technic pilots and with retractable suspension. This way it can be airlifted by our forthcoming heavy battlefield helicopter MOC in long range deployment:


Figure 6: ParaBuggy is loaded into a heavy battlefield helicopter for long range airlift
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See model in LDD

One can see that after rolling up on the lowered cargo ramp, ParaBuggy just occupies one part of the cargo space. In the rest of cargo hold, armament and spare ammo of ParaBuggy can be carried.


Figure 7: ParaBuggy loaded on board of heavy battlefield helicopter
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See model in LDD

In any dropping operation in the landing zone under enemy fire, it is essential for the survival of dropship, how fast cargo can be unloaded. Our heavy battlefield helicopter has power retractable bomb bay doors and several cargo winches, therefore ParaBuggy can be air-craned down exactly on the specified spot, without risking the landing at battlefield.


Figure 8: ParaBuggy air-craned down by heavy battlefield helicopter via bomb bay door
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See model in LDD

Once landed with ParaBuggy, crew can open its suspension to convert it into road mode, and it can operate as a conventional military dune buggy, armed with one 30mm machinegun in manual gun turret and two 160mm RPG-launchers:


Figure 9: ParaBuggy in road mode
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See model in LDD

Road-flight conversion is a simple 7-step manual process can be even performed by pretty female FBI superagents in high heel-booties, just like in any Hollywood superhero-movies:


Figure 10: ParaBuggy is converted to flight by a brownie and blonde
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See model in LDD

Flying ParaBuggy is not a very steady firing platform, but machinegun and RPGs can still be used when paraglider is opened as last resort:


Figure 11: ParaBuggy in tight right turn
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See model in LDD

Left/right airbrake- and big ear (roll) controls of paraglider are built in the cockpit roof, at left/right side of machine gun turret:


Figure 12: ParaBuggy flies over lagoon, Paracam view
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See model in LDD

Chassis is a gridded lightweight structure for weight saving:


Figure 13: ParaBuggy buzzes overhead
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See model in LDD

3 Technical details of ParaBuggy

*This part is technical and for aircraft builders with at least some experience. If you do not understand how do paraglider controls work, you can find an excellent summary at: Wikipedia

**In the forthcoming technical description, functional parts of ParaBuggy are referenced by numbers which can be found on technical drawings attached

***Parts of ParaBuggy are color-coded by their function:
- Yellow: Manual handles of working functions, Ammo belt
- Gray/Black: Static parts
- White: Dynamic parts, Paraglider
- Blue: Seats of pilots
- Red: Propeller blade pitch arms
- Orange: Lubricant oil
- Dark green: Shaped charges of RPGs


Figure 14: ParaBuggy road mode left cutaway view
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See model in LDD

3.1 Dynamic systems of ParaBuggy

3.1.1 Paraglider and its brake/big ear controls

Unpowered paragliders usually have at least 3 main controls on their left/right wings:
- Brake: Pulling down trailing edge with last row of control lines – this serves as airbarake and rudder
- Speedbar: Pulling down leading edge with first row of control lines – this can increase descent gradient and level speed
- Big ear: Pulling down wing tip wit outermost control lines – this can serve as roll control or fast descent tool, reducing wing area.
Paramotor gliders usually do not have speedbar, as throttle of the aero engine with pusher propeller can replace it. We modeled collapsible paraglider in LDD using series of Technic panels and 30cm strings:


Figure 15: Paraglider overview
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See model in LDD

Of course we do not intend to build this structure in the reality (it will collapse immediately), it just serves as a placeholder in our model for any commercially available paraglider kite model in reasonable size. For example, check this one: Oxy 1.0 RC paramotor kit. However, we designed working left/right brake/big ear controls placed at cabin roof. They are spools with fixable manual cranks, pulling respective control lines, slowed by elastic brake blocks made from TLG part ‘Rubber damper 2×1×1’:


Figure 16: ParaBuggy crew and paraglider controls
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See model in LDD

3.1.2 Land drivetrain and suspension

One can notice on Figure 17 below that ParaBuggy has relatively large diameter (13 studs) wheels with 4 PF XL wheel hub motors fixed on retractable independent leading/trailing arms type suspension, with skid steering, driven by one 2-channel IR receiver and one PF Battery pack. We chose this unusual solution at dune buggies because of the following reasons:


Figure 17: ParaBuggy land drivetrain and suspension
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See opened in LDD
See folded in LDD

- There was no way to build reasonable offroad capacity in scale 1:10 using conventional methods in the 17 studs with limitation of our heavy battlefield helicopter’s cargo bay. A 4WD with 3 differentials using double wishbone suspension and Ackerman-steering requires at least 21-stud chassis width building from standard TLG parts. It is still prone to stalling during rock-crawling as the standard TLG differentials are not lockable. Solid axle beam suspension can be built somewhat narrower, but if we want to use self-locking Torsen differentials (can be built with min. 9 studs width against 4 studs of the standard differential), this will again exceed width limitation. Usage of independent trailing arms with hub motors resolved all these issues together at the price of large unsprang mass of 4 XL motors and inexactness of skid steering. But these are not serious disadvantages driving slowly on loose terrain surface.
- In the future, hybrid drivetrain systems will appear in military vehicles also. Not because environment-friendliness on battlefield, but because of silent stealth mode of electric drive. Moreover, usage of more hub motors instead of a central drivetrain can increase survival of the vehicle: single hit is less likely to immobilize it because of the redundancy. So we wanted to build a little bit of forerunner of it, even if PF XL motors are not very well fit for the purpose.

3.1.3 Aero engine and propeller

As PF Battery pack is much bigger than hybrid drive would require in the reality, it also simulates the storage container of the folded paraglider wing. Moreover, we designed Lycoming 390-styled, flat 4-cylinder, liquid cooled aero engine equipped with sizeable (D4) alternator instead of the usual magneto. It not just provides electricity for (D6) spark plugs of the engine, but recharges the battery of hybrid drive as range extender.


Figure 18: ParaBuggy aero engine and propeller
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See opened in LDD
See folded in LDD

Creating reasonably large pusher propeller was a real pain. One hand, size of the vehicle in scale 1:10 requires propeller with ca. 25-stud diameter. In TLG parts there is nothing even close to that. On the other hand, the propeller should be foldable to fit inside cargo space of heavy battlefield helicopter. I resolved this using TLG part ‘Cockpit canopy’ as foldable propeller blade. To facilitate more compact folding, blades are pitchable from 0 to 20 degrees pitch manually by (P5) pitch setting arms.

3.2 Armament of ParaBuggy


Figure 19: ParaBuggy armament overview
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See model in LDD

3.2.1 Spring driven shooting MG-8 30mm machine gun

ParaBuggy carries one MG-8 type, spring driven shooting, belt fed, auto-loaded heavy infantry machinegun in portable manually operated turret. MG-8 has 2 propellant springs disassembled from TLG part ‘Shock absorber extra hard’, while auto-loading arm is operated by the torsional flexibility of ABS parts. Its flexible belt is made from echeloned series of ‘Technic beam 2×1×1’ parts connected with ‘Technic connector pegs with knob’. 3×15mm projectiles (30×150mm in real size) are not TLG parts, as TLG does not produce such a small parts because of children safety reasons, moreover ABS is not enough heavy to form reasonable projectile in such a small size. Projectiles are made from 3mm copper electric wire. They are fixed in cavities of belt with a tiny drop of molten wax. MG-8 works as follows:


Figure 20: Firing cycle of MG-8 30mm machine gun
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See model in LDD

3.2.2 Spring driven shooting 160mm RPGs with portable launchers

16×96mm RPG-projectile is a self-contained unit, having a spigot at its end. It compresses 4 propellant springs held by trigger arm. Rear end of the spigot is held by ‘Rubber damper 2×1×1’ parts, when RPG is loaded. The portable launcher is merely 4 parallel launch rails, without any special mechanics. The reason of this ‘pseudo-barrel solution’ is that TLG does not produce any reasonable thin walled barrel part to prevent modeling working up-to-date weaponry… Technically, real RPGs could be made this way, but jet blast would roast personnel to death during shooting.


Figure 21: Firing cycle of 160mm RPGs
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See model in LDD

4 Dimensions

4.1 Paraglider dimensions


Figure 22: ParaBuggy flight 3-plane view
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See model in LDD

- Span: 264.00 studs / 2112.00 mm / 83.15 in, Real size: 21.12 m / 69 ft 2.95 in
- Chord: 38.00 studs / 304.00 mm / 11.97 in, Real size: 3.04 m / 9 ft 11.61 in
- Wing area: 8659.01 sqstuds / 5541.77 sqcm / 858.98 sqinch, Real size: 55.42 sqm / 595.73 sqfeet
- Air cells: 44
- Air cell width: 6.00 studs / 48.00 mm / 1.89 in, Real size: 0.48 m / 1 ft 6.89 in
- Air cell thickness: 4.00 studs / 32.00 mm / 1.26 in, Real size: 0.32 m / 1 ft 0.59 in
- Lines: 88
- Lines length: 150.00 studs / 1200.00 mm / 47.24 in, Real size: 12.00 m / 39 ft 4.13 in

4.2 ParaBuggy dimensions


Figure 23: ParaBuggy flight close 3-plane view
See in high resolution
See model in LDD

- Track/chassis width: 17.00 studs / 136.00 mm / 5.35 in, Real size: 1.36 m / 4 ft 5.51 in
- Wheelbase: 28.00 studs / 224.00 mm / 8.82 in, Real size: 2.24 m / 7 ft 4.13 in
- Total length: 42.00 studs / 336.00 mm / 13.23 in, Real size: 3.36 m / 11 ft 0.20 in
- Ground clearance: 6.00 studs / 48.00 mm / 1.89 in, Real size: 0.48 m / 1 ft 6.89 in
- Suspension spring path: 2.75 studs / 22.00 mm / 0.87in, Real size: 0.22 m / 8.66 in
- Folded height: 16.00 studs / 128.00 mm / 5.04 in, Real size: 1.28 m / 4 ft 2.36 in
- Road height: 19.00 studs / 152.00 mm / 5.98 in, Real size: 1.52 m / 4 ft 11.81 in
- Prepare to flight height: 28.00 studs / 224.00 mm / 8.82 in, Real size: 2.24 m / 7 ft 4.13 in
- Flight mode height: 191.00 studs / 1528.00 mm / 60.16 in, Real size: 15.28 m / 50 ft 1.18 in
- Wheel diameter: 13.00 studs / 104.00 mm / 4.09 in, Real size: 1.04 m / 3 ft 4.92 in
- Propeller diameter: 24.50 studs / 196.00 mm / 7.72 in, Real size: 1.96 m / 6 ft 5.12 in
- Forward ramp angle: 90 degrees
- Rear ramp angle: 88 degrees

5 Unsolved issues

- A reasonably sized paraglider kite model cannot be folded under folding paraglider container lid.
- Because of the bulky PF Battery pack, there is not enough space left for this.
- Paraglider controls are manual functions instead of being remote controlled. With frozen controls, it is questionable whether the speeding ParaBuggy can lift paraglide kite from ground to make short air jump.
- PF XL motors are awkwardly heavy and bulky for being wheel hub motors. In the reality much higher performance electric hub motors would not even exceed the dimensions of wheels… We tried PF M-motors with reduction gearing, but then reduction gearing was even more bulky. We eagerly expect Lego group once exceed level of DC electric motor technology of early 1970s…
- Armament has to be removed during airlift and dropped in separate package.
- Extraction of suspension after being airlifted is a manual function, which can be performed only if ParaBuggy is lifted (e.g. while still hanging on air crane of the helicopter). Ideally, suspension should be servo-retracted/lifted, but there was not enough space to solve this.


Building instructions
Download building instructions (LEGO Digital Designer)

Comments

 I made it 
  October 4, 2015
Quoting Henrik Jensen Another amazing Technic creation, just like taken out of a 007 James Bond movie!
Thanks. Exactly that is why I designed a two-seater! Where to put the girl, if it had only single seat?
 I like it 
  October 4, 2015
Another amazing Technic creation, just like taken out of a 007 James Bond movie!
 I made it 
  October 3, 2015
Quoting Nick Barrett More engineering brilliance! Amazing how you've packed so many features in, and it looks ace.
Thanks.
 I made it 
  October 3, 2015
Quoting Matt G-ria This is all way beyond me. But I can comprehend just enough to know that this is incredible. So complex. So detailed. So jam packed. Love the schematics and explanations. Lots of hard work here.... And it paid off
Thanks.
 I like it 
  October 3, 2015
More engineering brilliance! Amazing how you've packed so many features in, and it looks ace.
 I made it 
  October 2, 2015
Quoting Nerds forprez Wow, wow, and wow. Big time win for me. Especially love it in combination with some of your other work.
Thanks.
 I like it 
  October 2, 2015
This is all way beyond me. But I can comprehend just enough to know that this is incredible. So complex. So detailed. So jam packed. Love the schematics and explanations. Lots of hard work here.... And it paid off
 I made it 
  October 2, 2015
Quoting c bigboy99899 Compact, tons of features in adorable (technic) size. Congratulations!
Thanks. I am very grateful for your help in artwork.
 I made it 
  October 2, 2015
Quoting Yann (XY EZ) Wow! That's quite an achievement! The buggy looks great and is full of cool engineering. Great job!
Thanks.
 I like it 
  October 2, 2015
Compact, tons of features in adorable (technic) size. Congratulations!
 I like it 
  October 2, 2015
Wow! That's quite an achievement! The buggy looks great and is full of cool engineering. Great job!
 I made it 
  October 2, 2015
Quoting Stephan Schumann Woah! Such an detailed great stunning overwhelming Presentation of an EPIC built! Must have taken time to edit all thoose shematic pictures. The Buggy is top notch, real likely and respectfull. Excellentest Work!
Thanks. It took more time to write up and draw figures, than design it. (But the suspension was developed earlier)
 I like it 
  October 2, 2015
Woah! Such an detailed great stunning overwhelming Presentation of an EPIC built! Must have taken time to edit all thoose shematic pictures. The Buggy is top notch, real likely and respectfull. Excellentest Work!
Gabor Pauler
 I like it 
Matt Bace
  October 1, 2015
Fantastic work! I am impressed that you were able to include all of those PF components in addition to a detailed interior.
 I like it 
  October 1, 2015
Wow, wow, and wow. Big time win for me. Especially love it in combination with some of your other work.
 I made it 
  October 1, 2015
Quoting Deus "Big D." Otiosus What a crazy yet intriguing concept.
Thanks. The concept is not mine, but of the ParaJet guys. I just made a possible rendering in Lego.
  October 1, 2015
What a crazy yet intriguing concept.
 I made it 
  October 1, 2015
Quoting Gabor Horvath Amazing design, great functionality and everything is full of details, as always! Well done! Nem trevezed az egyik hasonló kaliberû MOCodat igaziból is megépíteni?
Thanks. Idõ, pénz, éles nyelvû feleség...
 I like it 
  October 1, 2015
Amazing design, great functionality and everything is full of details, as always! Well done! Nem trevezed az egyik hasonló kaliberû MOCodat igaziból is megépíteni?
 I made it 
  October 1, 2015
Quoting Matt Bace Fantastic work! I am impressed that you were able to include all of those PF components in addition to a detailed interior.
Thanks. I used all those dirty tricks of designers of subcompact cars...
 
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