Fulton Amphibian - (scan - 1997)

The FA-3 was further development of original Fulton roadable aircraft manufactured in Danbury CT 1945. Robert Edison Fulton, developer, was great-great-grandson of famous "Steamboat" Fulton. FA-3 only flying automobile to have received Approved Type Certificate (Dec 50) from FAA. Between first flight and certification, 3 prototypes driven over 200,000 miles and made over 6,000 car/plane conversions. Conversion process, however, judged to be too complicated and lengthy to be practical for daily commuter type of operation. Rear wheels of 4-wheel undercarriage driven by engine through torque converter, drive shaft, combined transmission and differential, and universal joints. All 4 wheels could be braked for ground operations; only rear 2 wheels could be braked for taxiing (with hand brake). Prop and rear fuselage and wings (both fabric covered) were removed for road operations. Roadable section covered in metal. Ground handling considered excellent in both configurations. In road operations, steering was through normal rotation of control wheel, brakes applied with right rudder pedal, left pedal activated clutch, and foot throttle was accelerator. Gear shift lever had forward and reverse positions. Normal speeds about 110 mph in air and 55 mph on road. Performance in the air considered sluggish due to added weight required for air/road operations. Design of a satisfactory aircraft/automobile imposes almost unacceptable weight and cost penalties. Although new propulsion and material technologies may reduce weight penalties, costs would probably be prohibitive in general aviation market.

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