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Flying Cars

I-TEC's Maverick flying car

We’ve certainly seen some high-tech wonders over the past week at AirVenture 2010, but sometimes it’s the relatively low-tech aircraft that are the most inspiring. That’s certainly the case with the Maverick, a flying car from Florida’s I-TEC (Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center). The Maverick could fairly accurately be described as a combination dune buggy and powered parachute, not unlike the Parajet Skycar. While I-TEC initially plans on raising funds by selling Mavericks to recreational users, they ultimately hope to put the vehicles to use in impoverished African nations, where missionary pilots can use them to deliver medical supplies.  Read More

Terrafugia has released specifications and computer graphics of its next generation flying...

Terrafugia has released specifications and computer graphics of its next generation flying-car design. The company made use of the world's biggest aviation industry platform – AirVenture 2010 – to detail the future shape of its Transition Roadable Aircraft which sports automotive-style crash safety features, a touch-screen interface, improved wing design and a folding mechanism that can be activated from inside the vehicle... plus sleeker lines than the proof of concept vehicle we've seen previously.  Read More

The AVX TX fly-drive vehicle boasts VTOL capabilities

One of the first to respond to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) call seeking designs for a tactical flying car under its Transformer (TX) program is the AVX Aircraft Company. Its AVX Aircraft can be manually driven on the ground like an SUV and also boasts Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

Flying car roundup: the good, the bad, the ugly

Flying cars are back in the news this week with the Terrafugia Transition gaining FAA certification as a road-registerable aircraft. Exciting stuff, but the Transition doesn't quite satisfy our fantasies of being able to just press a button and lift off out of traffic, landing on the roof of our city office building to make that 9am meeting; it's basically a light plane with retractable wings that you can drive on the road – you're still stuck taking off and landing at airstrips. So here's a quick look over what else is out there and in development in the world of flying cars and motorcycles … with a bonus look at some personal flying saucers, a flying boat and a few concepts that will never get off the ground.  Read More

The Terrafugia Transition in the air

Is this the first viable flying car? It's a question we posed back in 2006 when we first looked at the prototype Terrafugia Transition. It now looks like the answer is yes. The flying car (or “roadable aircraft,” as the Massachusetts-based company prefers), can fly like a regular plane and land at an airport before folding up its wings and hitting the road. In car mode, it can travel at highway speeds and park in regular parking spots. Terrafugia had been hoping the Transition could be classified as a light sport aircraft, as a sport pilot’s license is considerably easier to get than a regular private pilot’s license. Unfortunately, it was proving impossible to meet all the road safety requirements, while still keeping the vehicle weight under the 1,320-pound limit for a light sport aircraft. Well, it has just been announced that the US Federal Aviation Authority will make an exception for the Transition, and allow it to squeak in at 1,430 pounds. Things are looking up for this little aeromobile.  Read More

The YEE flying car concept

Flying cars might still be a long way from becoming a commercial reality, but that doesn't stop designers letting their imaginations run wild when it comes to envisioning the airborne automobiles of the future... and they sure make for some gorgeous conceptual art. A case in point is the YEE, designed by South China University of Technology (SCUT) industrial design students Pan Jiazhi, Zhu Wenxi and Lai Zexin. Last month, their creation won the Gold Award for Best Creative Future at the First International Concept Car Design Contest in Beijing. One look at it, and it’s easy to see why.  Read More

There is no known documentation that the car ever flew  Credit: Red Baron Antiques

Putting aside jet packs, the other science fiction dream to perpetually elude us is the flying car. Gizmag is littered with stories on flying car inventions and yet my Toyota Camry is mournfully clipped, fused to the road while my dreams of zooming to work in the 21st century remain unrealized. But this is not a story about a new-fangled invention, this is a story about the pioneering forerunner to these zippy young upstarts; the ancient grandfather of flying automobiles, Frank Skroback's Flying Car, which recently went to auction in Atlanta, Georgia.  Read More

Transport of the future? The SkyBike

Here we are in 2009 - televisions are thin, phones are smart and robots are on the rise, but still there's that nagging sense of disappointment each time you look outside and realize that cars don't fly. Samson Motorworks hopes to rescue us from this predicament, but realizing the weight and aerodynamic disadvantages of the 4-wheel platform, it has left the car in the garage and embarked on a mission to create a flying 3-wheeled enclosed motorcycle. Two dual-use Multi Mode Vehicles (MMVs) models are in development - the Skybike, which uses a patent pending telescoping wing design, and the Switchblade, which uses a scissor wing design to retract the wings when you swap the airway for the freeway.  Read More

M200X VTOL prototype

Moller International is selling its Jetson-like M200X 2-passenger VTOL prototype on eBay. Although it's a long way from the latest designs to rise from the Moller drawing-board like the hybrid flying car, the M200X is a significant piece of aviation history, having completed over 200 manned and unmanned flight demonstrations since 1989.  Read More

The autovolantor Flying Car

September 9, 2008 Moller International has announced that it has designed a hybrid flying car. The two-seater autovolantor is fashioned in the shape of a Ferrari 599 GTB with wings and is claimed to be capable of lifting off vertically from a traffic jam and flying at up to 150 mph for a short distance (about 15 minutes). The autovolantor is designed to function on the road very much like a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) using one of its eight Rotapower engines to generate enough electrical power to drive for up to 40 miles.  Read More

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