April 18, 2007 For more than 50 years, the media have been promising us the personal flight revolution; by 2000 we'd all be getting around in flying cars, cruising down the skyway then touching down, driving home and unloading the shopping. Sadly, most of us are still stuck down here in traffic, but one maverick aviator has successfully taken personal flight into his own hands with a road-registered, high-safety flying motorcycle.
An interesting new flying car is being launched this week at Oshkosh. The Transition is a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) designed to make general aviation more practical for personal transportation. From start-up company Terrafugi, the Transition drives like a car on public roads and can transition into an aircraft at the nearest airport by lowering its 27-foot wings and taking off. As an aircraft it has a top speed of 130mph, a range of 500 miles and can carry a payload of 430 pounds. One stop gives you over a thousand miles of range inside eight hours. Then you land and fold up the wings and you’re back on the road. As Terrafugia Chief Operating Officer Anna Mracek explains, deposits are being taken at Oshkosh, “our anticipated purchase price is $148k, and a deposit of 5% of that anticipated price will secure your place in line, but not guarantee that exact price.” The Transition delivers 30 mpg in either car or plane mode and promises a true integrated roadable aircraft at an economically compelling price. A prototype is being constructed and deliveries will start in 2009. The Transition will be capable of driving at normal highway speeds, flying at speeds that approach the light sport aircraft limit, and park in a standard garage. The CEO and CTO of Terrafugia is Carl Dietrich – note that name as he’s been incredibly impressive in everything he’s ever attempted and this is an ambitious play. Carl will receive his PhD from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics this year. Carl received both his SB and SM degrees from the same department, winning all four out of four design competitions available to him then the golden globe for entrepreneurs, the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize which annually recognizes one student for outstanding innovations.
October 3, 2005 Neiman Marcus, the specialty retailer renowned for its unique luxurious offerings,
never fails to make available some delectable big toys for big boys and girls when it unveils its annual Christmas Catalogue. In recent years we’ve seen the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book offer a Custom Designed Mermaid Suit
, a Dodge 500hp Tomahawk motorcycle
and even the first commercially-available Deep Flight Aviator
, but the 79th Annual Christmas catalogue has exceeded all previous efforts by putting the M400 Moller Skycar Prototype
on sale – it’ll set you back just US$3.5 million but what the heck! Other fantasy gifts for the person who dares to dream big included in the 2005 book include a His & Hers Photo Booth, an NM Edition Lexus GS 450h (in 2003, the limited edition BMW 645Ci sold out in seven minutes), a Dreamboat levitating sculpture with "no visible means of support," a Grand Empire Railroad, and a replica of the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winning car with flat-screen monitor, IndyCar Series 2005 video game and all related electronics.
November 29, 2004 UK based company Avcen
has unveiled an flying-taxi concept aimed at giving urban commuters an aerial alternative by 2010. The "Jetpod" is a small twin-jet aircraft with a new VQSTOL (Very Quiet Short Take-off and Landing) technology that reduces noise emissions by up to 50% and enables short-distance air travel in built up urban areas. Requiring just 125 meters to take off and 300 meters to land, Avcen hopes busy metropolitan cities will embrace the Jetpod, building elevated runways above harbors, roads and railway tracks to handle arrivals and departures from "park-and-fly" terminals located in the suburbs.
UPDATED November 15, 2004
After recent successful tethered hovering flights of the M400 Skycar
, including at the at the WIRED NextFest
in San Francisco in May, 2004, Moller International is accepting deposits to secure delivery positions this groundbreaking vehicle. A 10% deposit of US$100,000 will put you in the top 100 on the delivery list for the M-400 Skycar, which is expected to be FAA-certified for use by the end of 2005. Over 100 reservations have already been placed and demand is expected to grow as the working model nears production.
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'.
What happens if you cross a gyrocopter with a car and a motorbike? The PAL-V is the answer, a personal air and land concept vehicle designed to solve the increasing congestion in our cities and highways. On the ground, the slimline, aerodynamic 3-wheel vehicle is as comfortable as a luxury car, yet has the agility of a motorbike, thanks to its patented cutting-edge "tilting" system. The single rotor and propeller are folded away until the PAL-V is ready to fly.
In the recently released sequel to "Men in Black" (MIB II), agent Kay and agent Jay cruise the alien beat in a black 2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan that not only provides a stylish ride but transforms into a space car to help hunt down the villains...
It would look right at home on the set of Bladerunner or the latest Star Wars film, but the Moller M400 Skycar - a versatile, economical, safe, environmentally-responsible Flying Car - is definitely for real.June 3, 2004 It would look right at home on the set of Bladerunner or the latest Star Wars film, but the Moller M400 Skycar - a versatile, economical, safe, environmentally-responsible Flying Car - is definitely for real. Opening up the next frontier in automotive personal transport, the SkyCar is a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle with a cruising speed of 600kmh, a range of more than 1400km, runs on almost any fuel from diesel to natural gas and achieves better fuel efficiency than many sports cars (15mpg or 19 litres per 100km).