December 14, 2007 Nearly eight years into the 21st century and we still don't have flying cars… frankly, it's disgraceful. No point complaining about it though - while Dr. Paul Moller continues development of the intriguing and exciting M400 Skycar, others around the world are also working to turn the cogs that will set the personal flight revolution in motion. One of them is Italian Gino d'Ignazio Gizio, a helicopter pilot and designer whose Cell Craft designs are reminiscent of the Skycar with a few touches of his own.
The evolving stable of Cell Craft designs - including the G416ef designed specifically for civilian commuter use, the G420 "flying-sportscar" and the Search and Rescue focussed G500e - have culminated in the G440 - a new design which aims to become the key concept design to showcase the technology and function as the primary example of what a CellCraft represents.
The G440 design uses a seven seat format (including the pilot) and is based on the quad-turbine Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) design shown in the G416ef. The turbines force air through and push it out the back, either straight through for horizontal flight, or at a directed downward angle (to allow vertical takeoff, landing and hovering) through a tilting exhaust tube at the rear of each turbine.
Gizio's intention with the Cell Craft series is to capitalize on the easy access, take-off, landing and hovering abilities of a helicopter, and combine them with the high speed potential, relative safety and stability of regular airplane designs. It also has to be easy and intuitive enough for the average car driver to operate.
The control system features twin joysticks mounted to the armrests of the sportscar-like pilot's seat. The left joystick handles power level control and the right handles tilt and direction. Press it forward, and the Cell Craft tilts forward from a stable hover and beings moving forward, gradually tilting the thrust tubes until the vehicle is moving forward at a rapid rate. Similarly, it is possible to tilt the vehicle sideways for lateral movement from a hover, or to steer while in horizontal flight.
A trigger-style lever on the left control allows the pilot to rotate the Cell Craft from a stable hover, in much the same way as a helicopter pilot's foot pedals allow rotation around the central axis - except with this vehicle the rotation is attained by slight adjustments of the directional thrust tubes.
The history of the different Gizio G series designs can be viewed at his personal website, which also details his exploits in music, photography and next-generation cell phone design. He's yet to make a prototype, needing significant investment, but ready to drop what he's doing at a moment's notice to bring his Cell Craft dream to reality.