Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The AVE Mizar (frequently misspelled "Mitzar", but named after the star Mizar) was a flying car built between 1971 and 1973 by Advanced Vehicle Engineers (AVE) of Oxnard, California. The company was started by Henry Smolinski , a Northrop-trained engineer.
The prototypes of the Mizar were made by mating the rear portion of a Cessna Skymaster to a Ford Pinto. The pod-and-twin-boom configuration of the Skymaster was an ideal starting point for a hybrid automobile/airplane. The passenger space and front engine of the Skymaster were removed leaving an airframe ready to attach to a small car. AVE planned to have their own airframe purpose-built by a subcontractor for production models, rather than depending on Cessna for airframes.
According to Peterson's Complete Ford Book, by mid-1973, two prototypes had been built and three more were under construction. One prototype was slated for static display at Galpin Ford, owned by AVE partner Bert Boeckmann of Sepulveda, California. The other prototype, fitted with a Teledyne Continental 210-hp engine, was unveiled to the press on May 8, 1973. It then began a series of taxi tests at Van Nuys, California. AVE made special arrangements to do flight testing at the US Navy's test facilities at Point Mugu, California. AVE stated that FAA certification flights were under way in mid-1973.
The Mizar was intended to use both the aircraft engine and the car engine for takeoff. This would considerably shorten the takeoff roll. Once in the air the car engine would be turned off. Upon landing the four-wheel braking would stop the craft in 525 feet (160 m) or less. On the ground, telescoping wing supports would be extended and the airframe would be tied down like any other aircraft. The Pinto could be quickly unbolted from the airframe and driven away.
On September 11, 1973, during a test flight at Oxnard, California, the right wing strut detached from the Pinto. Some reports say the wings folded and others say the Pinto separated from the airframe. Smolinski and the pilot, Harold Blake, were killed in the resulting fiery crash. Even though the Pinto was a light car, the total aircraft was already slightly over gross weight without passengers or fuel. One observer reported that the wing struts were attached to the car with sheet-metal screws and that, "...everything was really bad". However, in addition to poor design and loose parts, the National Transportation Safety Board reported that bad welds were partly responsible for the crash.
Specifications (AVE Mizar)
- Crew: one, pilot
- Capacity: three passengers
- Length: ft in (m)
- Wingspan: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m)
- Height: ft in ( m)
- Wing area: 201 ft² (18.7 m²)
- Empty: lb ( kg)
- Loaded: lb ( kg)
- Maximum takeoff: lb ( kg)
- Powerplant: 1x Continental IO-360 -C, 210 hp (157 kW)
- Maximum speed: mph ( km/h)
- Range: miles ( km)
- Service ceiling: ft ( m)
- Rate of climb: ft/min ( m/min)
- Wing loading: lb/ft² ( kg/m²)
- The Unofficial Cessna Skymaster Web Site
- Mitzar, Flying Pinto?
- A Pinto for Icarus
- NTSB accident report
- Peterson (1973) Peterson's Complete Ford Book 3rd Edition
Related development: Cessna Skymaster
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