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.
July 14, 2008 The race is well and truly on to develop a functional flying car, and innovators around the world are finding several different ways to accommodate the needs of a road-registerable flying vehicle. The Moller Skycar
and Cell Craft G440
use complicated quad-turbine tilting jet engines to achieve VTOL and flight capability. The Terrafugia Transition
roadable aircraft have decided to go for a folding-wing convertible aeroplane design, and Larry Neal's Super Sky Cycle
is a simple and cheap modification that turns a standard, safe gyroplane into a road-going trike. And now there's the Parajet Skycar, a Yamaha R1-engined, biodiesel-powered all-terrain dune buggy that's capable of extremely safe flight as a powered paraglider. The Skycar Expedition team plan to take the eye-catching vehicle from London to Timbouctou in 2009, using a combination of flight and driving to battle the tough Saharan terrain. There's a commuter model in the pipeline - and you won't need a pilot's license to fly it.
January 6, 2008 Simple to build, easy to fly, faster than helicopters and arguably safer than anything else in the sky: gyroplanes are a long-overlooked segment of the personal aviation industry, but as innovators like Sportcopter bring the entry price down to family car levels, these fun little aircraft are finally starting to get some of the popularity they deserve. Sportcopter's highly anticipated Super Sport is currently undergoing flight testing - a roomy, weatherproof, fully enclosed twin-seater with space for cargo and a full set of controls and instrumentation for each seat, making it an ideal training craft, the agile little gyroplane is powered by a 2.5 litre Subaru engine producing 190hp and propelling it to well over 100mph with a range of between 300 and 400 miles.
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.