OMA SUD Skycar
by Philip Greenspun, ATP-CFII in August 2010
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The OMA SUD Skycar is a five-seat, twin-engine airplane certified in
Europe and shown at Oshkosh 2010. The Skycar is powered by two
Lycoming IO-360 engines with pusher propellers, which should result in
reduced interior noise compared to conventional tractor twins. OMA SUD
has put a huge cargo door in between the tail booms, much like an
EC145/BK117 medevac helicopter. This airplane would be a great choice
for a family that wanted to take some bicycles out for a day trip.
This review is based on a completed airplane viewed in a static
display at Oshkosh.
The Achilles Heel of any piston twin tends to be single engine
performance. OMA SUD does not quote a single-engine climb rate nor a
single-engine service ceiling. The Skycar has the same engines as a
Piper Seminole trainer, albeit with 200 HP rather than 180
HP. Unfortunately the gross weight is 4400 lbs compared to the
Seminole's 3800 lbs. If you remember from your multi-engine trainer
what a horrible performer the Seminole was on one engine with just two
people on board you can imagine that the Skycar would have little
chance of achieving a climb when at gross weight. The Cirrus SR20 has
a 200 HP engine for its 3000 lb. gross weight and is a sluggish
climber in the summer.
Asked why the name "Skycar" was chosen, the son of the founder said
that they had been inspired by automotive interior design and hoped
that their airplane met modern automotive standards for ergonomics and
The OMA SUD Skycar does not have enough power to operate safely on one
engine. An engine failure after takeoff would result in the plane
settling back to the ground and impacting terrain. The chance of such
a failure would be double that of a single-engine family airplane,
such as the Cirrus SR20. The Skycar
would benefit hugely from a hybrid engine with an electric boost
feature (such as the prototypes that are coming out from Rotax, with
135 HP from the gasoline engine and 40 HP from an electric motor). In
the event of an engine failure, an electric motor could be activated
on at least one side of the airplane to provide real climb power.
The Skycar might also be a nice airplane if equipped with a 400-500 HP
turboprop engine, such as the RR500.
Text and photos (if any) Copyright 2010 Philip