Oh, how we envied George Jetson and his ability to whip back and forth to work through the air rather than sit for hours a day in ground-bound traffic jams like us real-world schmucks. Well, thanks to a handful of persistent visionaries working to create the world’s first widely marketable flying car, we may be closer to a Jetsons-like daily scenario than ever.
California-based Moller International says it has developed “the first and only feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle the world has ever seen.”
And it looks like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees. Proprietor Paul Moller says the FAA has cleared his company to test the Moller Sky Car without a tether on June 10 of next year. Testing has been conducted before, both with live pilots and via remote control. But thus far, all of those tests have required the Sky Car, which lifts upward like a helicopter, to be tethered to the ground.
Meanwhile, the Slovakian engineer Stefan Klein says the 3.0 version of his Aeromobil, which has seen multiple phases of try-and-die development over the past two decades, may be the one that finally hits (relatively) mass production. Based on the outlines of a single-engine plane, the current version 2.5 draws power from a 100-hp Rotax airplane engine and can travel 430 miles in the air or 310 miles on the ground on just one fuel load.
As E3 Spark Plugs has reported before, the Terrafugia Transition Flying Car still awaits a few more investors before it can go into full production. However, you can reserve your $279,000 new ride for a mere $10,000 down payment. No word yet on how long you’ll wait.
And the over in the Netherlands, the PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) made a successful maiden flight last year. It rises into the air like a gyrocopter with lift generated by an auto-rotating rotor and forward speed produced by a foldable push propeller on the back. On the road it looks and drives a bit like a motorcycle. The current version runs on gasoline, but the company is developing biodiesel and bioethanol-fueled versions, too.
Supposing mass personal air travel is the next-generation norm, which of these four would you choose, E3 Spark Plugs fans?