November 8, 2004 Automobiles and airplanes were both inventions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both technologies were heralded as examples of technical progress and both carried the promise of great personal freedom that is still being explored today with the possibility of dual mode 'flying cars'. These futuristic concept vehicles have been covered in gizmag before, notably the Moller M400 Skycar, and now another prototype is being proposed by Robin Haynes with his 'Skyblazer roadable aircraft'.
The Skyblazer design will automatically convert from car mode to airplane mode and back, so you can fly and drive interchangeably, combining the speed of a jet plane with the door to door convenience of an automobile. "Skyblazer lets you journey wherever choose, on your own schedule, just the way you do in your car. But, with Skyblazer's unique ability to operate both on the road and in the air, every local airfield becomes simply an on or off ramp to the fastest freeway in the world - the freeway in the sky," says Haynes on his website.
Unlike the Moeller Skycar, which has a fixed wingspan, the Skyblazer design hopes to automatically convert from a 250 mph personal jet plane to a road vehicle able to operate within normal traffic and even fit in a regular parking space or single car garage!
Haynes is pinning his hopes on wing folding technology like that used in carrier based planes to enable the Sykblazer to fold it's wings completely within the vehicle's body and protect all aeronautical components from road stress. All flying surfaces and avionics sensors are to be securely stowed and hidden while in road mode.
The passenger compartment is envisaged as a pressurized cabin with as much room as an automobile, seating for four adults, and a minimum baggage capacity of 50 lbs. A simple slide control system navigation allows automatically co-ordinated turns. The satellite based navigation system chooses the closest landing field to your destination and crunches data on terrain, weather and other air traffic to compute the best flight path. Constantly updated displays are intended to make navigation simple, even in poor weather, while Skyblazer's navigation system is designed to work door to door, guiding in the ground and in the air.
The Skyblazer is awaiting investment to reach prototype stage at the moment, but it offers some interesting modifications to the dual air-road vehicle concept. The promotional video is a large file but well worth a look.