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.
It seems like such a simple concept, something Q might whip up for 007 in the next Bond flick: hook a recumbent electric motorcycle up to a paraglider, drive it off a cliff and see what happens. That's the thinking behind this offering from Serbian designer Zvezdan Nedeljkovic, and while the idea of attaching vehicles to parasails
is far from new, there's something about Nedeljkovic's concept design that captures the imagination.
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.
July 14, 2006 Just four weeks ago we wrote about the the Wego Kite Tube and figured it looked like a heap of fun, but reports just in show that about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes are being voluntarily recalled. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of 39 injury incidents with 29 of those resulting in medical treatment. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries. Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the United States and a variety of serious injuries. Sportsstuff has not yet been able to determine the cause of the incidents but has withdrawn the kite tube from the market . The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement "Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall." The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600. Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff on (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm's Web site
for more information.