Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

SkyRunner car goes off-road and off-ground

By

October 31, 2013

The SkyRunner in flight

The SkyRunner in flight

Image Gallery (6 images)

Back in 2008, we heard about a parasail-equipped dune buggy, known as the Parajet Skycar. It could scramble over rough ground like a true off-roader, but then take to the skies when needed. One epic 6,000-km (3,728-mile) drive/flight from London to Tombouctou later, its creators got some ideas about how the design could be improved. The result is the lighter, better-flying and less-polluting SkyRunner – and you can order one now.

Like other parasail vehicles, the SkyRunner has a propeller on the back, along with a parachute-like paraglider wing that packs down when not in use. When it's time to take flight, the wing is laid out behind the car, its propeller is fired up, then it zips along the ground until it reaches 37 mph (60 km/h), at which point the lifting force of the wing pulls everything into the air.

No airport runway is necessary, as a grassy field, beach, or other sufficiently long and empty area is sufficient. A Sport Pilot license, however, is required.

Once airborne, the SkyRunner is reportedly fairly easy to control, as the pilot only needs to manage its pitch and roll. Should trouble arise, a reserve chute can be deployed.

The 926-lb (420-kg) vehicle is powered by a 1.0-liter EcoBoost direct injection turbo engi...

The 926-lb (420-kg) vehicle is powered by a 1.0-liter EcoBoost direct injection turbo engine that produces 200 Nm (147.5 ft lb) of torque, and pushes the car from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds. It has a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h) on the ground and 55 mph (89 km/h) in the air, with one tank of gas taking it 500 miles (805 km) on the road at 56.5 mpg (5 L/100 km), or 200 nautical miles (322 km) in the sky.

The SkyRunner is currently in the process of acquiring its light sport aircraft certification. In the meantime, the company is accepting US$1,500 deposits from potential buyers. The vehicle is hoped to be ready for delivery next year, and will cost $119,000.

While some people may see it as a rich man's toy, its suggested buyers include emergency medical teams, aerial survey companies, pipeline companies, and search and rescue teams. In fact, the very similar Maverick parasail car was designed primarily to deliver medical supplies to remote African villages.

Source: SkyRunner

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
12 Comments

Not sure how I feel about this one yet.

On one hand the thing looks bad-ass and I'm sure it would be a blast to drive OR fly.

But on the other hand... I don't quite see the point in having a vehicle like this when you still have to get out and attach a parachute to it in order to get airborn. (or take it off when going "land-born").

I think I'd rather have an off-roader without a propeller, and a para-glider without wheels.

plus... VIDEO (or it didn't happen).

Milton
31st October, 2013 @ 04:38 pm PDT

Getting better and better! Unfortunately, something else for paranoid dope growers to shoot at if they see it flying over their little concealed green patches.

The Skud
31st October, 2013 @ 05:53 pm PDT

I love it!

I can see that this is ideal for travelling between any points A and B in the bundus. The idea is probably to travel on-road as far as you can, when the going really gets tough, like getting to a non-existent bridge, rip out the chute and take-off! The airborne range would unfortunately restrict you from using flying as the main method of travelling.

The one main restriction is probably the limited payload which can be carried

Riaanh
1st November, 2013 @ 04:54 am PDT

in the back country...with lousy roads, but lots of them; this would come in handy for search and rescue teams / medical emergencies. also in desert country.

pity the article doesn't mention how pitch and roll are controlled...an example of bad reporting?

can't afford one, but really want to try one out!

notarichman
1st November, 2013 @ 06:21 am PDT

Check out Vaylon's PEGASE concept too. Same kind of vehicle but it's a side by side 2-seater, it is equipped with a windshield and efforts have been made to ensure the propeller is as quiet as possible. They claim it will have a total payload capacity of 250kg (550 lbs).

http://www.vaylon.fr/

Loïc Marchand
1st November, 2013 @ 07:27 am PDT

Oh, spare me! $119,000 for a motorized hang glider? I'd say they were kidding but it isn't April Fools Day.

It can't be flown in controlled airspace, is limited to daytime VFR only.

You can buy two older Cessna 172 planes for that kind of money.

It'll be in Chapter 11 before we know it.

PB
1st November, 2013 @ 09:18 am PDT

Agree with PB. Plus it's high speed take-off and slow climb rate did not encourage me any.

TedF
1st November, 2013 @ 01:20 pm PDT

Need 2, 4 passenger model & backup chute for use

& to rent & add pontoons for amphib model alone

Great for camping, hiking in mtns, beaches, riverways]

Apps for:

Firefighting

Security.

mapping

tourism

Sales

Stephen N Russell
1st November, 2013 @ 05:43 pm PDT

@Milton, the point is: after you take a 10km hop in the air, you've got a ground vehicle with you; after you've trekked 300km overland and come to a 5km obstacle that your ground vehicle can't handle, you've got a STOL aircraft with you.

$119K must be taking the development (mostly certification and licensing) costs into account with a small projected sales volume (safe bet at that price point!)

MangoCat
2nd November, 2013 @ 05:04 pm PDT

This thing has future military application written all over it. For hobbyists, the market is probably rather minute, but as a multi-use recon vehicle with personnel that can run across any terrain, I can't think of any singular vehicle that can match this.

Michael Givan
2nd November, 2013 @ 06:15 pm PDT

I can understand developmental costs are high and have to be in the price of the vehicle at first, however at 120,000$ this thing is ridiculously expensive. I'm sure its not as easy as buying a dune buggy and strapping a propeller on it with a chute... but give me a break... the cost of materials to manufacturer is probably like 30,000$.

I personally dont think the range is that bad, im sure its possible to have a small payload of extra fuel that would increase range dramatically.. over 300km by air isnt no small hop, when your going as the crow flies you could go somewhere that would be 400-450km on land. That's enough to fly across some states, not sure you'd really want to be doing long trips sitting in something like this anyhow.

So yeah i actually really like this idea, im not sure how much people are relising that your gonna need a large area to take off in something like this, can't just pull down a backroad and load it up... your going to need either a runway or open flat field/desert. This would be really good for conservation officers that deal with conservation/fish and game. They fly into remote area's/villages but then need someone to come pick them up.

The price is just prohibitive... im sure there are a few people that would buy it but if they can't find a way to cut the cost down dramatically i don't see this having a long future, they're going to have to bring alot more value to the table then im seeing so far, for that price.

Arahant
4th November, 2013 @ 01:40 pm PST

It doesn't appear street legal?

Jon Smith
4th November, 2013 @ 01:41 pm PST
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