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Investigation: Flying Car

Back in Episode 2, we introduced you to Dr. Paul Moller, and his Skycar.  Recently, Dr. Moller announced plans for a demonstration flight of the Skycar are going forward and that he is giving supporters a way to get in on the event.

“Today, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to do just that,” said Dr. Moller. “We are announcing that we are opening up the testing of the M400 Skycar to the public, and to join us and participate in the historic Official First Flight,” he said.

Dr. Moller stated that with the recent increased horsepower breakthroughs that the company has made to the Skycar’s engines, any funds raised during the crowdfunding campaign would specifically be used to complete the installation of the new, higher-power engines and fly the first un-tethered Skycar flight with a pilot on-board.

“We’re excited that we’ve had three companies agree to match a portion of funds raised – dollar-for-dollar, and they’ve pledged almost $1 million toward this milestone event.  With the public’s help, we know we can raise the remaining funds that we need to undertake their first official flight.” Moller goes on to say. “In exchange for help from our Indiegogo donors, we are offering a number of limited-edition, commemorative and unique Skycar Flight Test Team gear. For the top donors, we are offering a flight aboard the Skycar itself, once we’re cleared to do so by the FAA,” he stated.

The M400 Skycar is classed as a “Powered-Lift” category aircraft, and is the only civilian aircraft to carry that designation. Moller plans to carry out the Official First Flight in front of the donors and legions of the Skycar’s fans, enthusiasts and followers in June of 2014 at a lakeside water park north of Sacramento, California. The Skycar®, explained Moller, is unique amongst a growing number of “flying cars” that are being developed, in that it is capable of vertical takeoff and landing, and yet remains small enough to use on the road and stored at home.  “Ultimately we see Skycar owners backing out of their garage and driving a short distance to pick up their Starbucks® coffee and then to a designated area, where at the push a button, they take off and fly to work 100 miles away,” he said.

Moller went on: “Our campaign not only allows the pilots flying on-board to make history –but there is an extra added benefit,” he said. “There are only a hand-full of pilots in the world with flight time in powered-lift aircraft of any type, and currently, there are none with any time in powered-lift aircraft of this type. We are offering not only the chance to ‘log’ flight time in the Skycar, but also the chance to make aviation history by being part of the team that tested an air vehicle that is bound for the National Air and Space Museum.”

Moller stated that the proceeds from the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign would be used to prepare the Skycar for its Official First Flight – off of a tether and to a higher altitude – in contrast to previous tests that were tethered and unpiloted. He also stated that the funds would be used to fly the Official First Flight in front of the public, and any additional funds that might be raised would be used to continue to fly and test the Skycar.  The Company wants to be able to fly the Skycar at different events throughout the United States and the world, where the people that donated to the campaign can have the opportunity to see the historic air vehicle that they helped to fly.

“We’ve seen crowdfunding being used for a variety of unique reasons, including the rebuilding of historic aircraft destined for museums, but this is the first time that the public will be able to participate in the test and historic first flight of a prototype aircraft,” Moller said. “We’re making history together – our supporters, our sponsors and us…and even more importantly, together we’re also helping to advance the state of transportation by giant leaps.”

For more information on the Official First Flight of the Moller M400X Skycar, please go here

Back in Episode 3 we brought you an in depth discussion of Terrafugia’s Transition.  Now we are proud to update that investigation with news that the world’s first street legal aircraft is set to enter the market in 2015.

Moller International, Inc. The developer of the Skycar® a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capable, high-speed light aircraft, announced that it has established a relationship with American Space Industries (ASI) of Menlo Park, CA to produce sub-scale models of the Skycar®.  These electrically-powered unmanned radio-controlled reproductions of the Skycar®are intended for model aircraft fans who want to experience the thrill of flying a VTOL aircraft with the extraordinary characteristics of the Skycar®.

President and founder of Moller International, Dr. Paul Moller said of this new partnership, “We know that there is a tremendous market for RC aircraft, and we think the Skycar’s design will provide an excellent basis for those hobbyists that want a VTOL aircraft that also has high-performance aerodynamics”.  He also added, “We expect that we can use these reproductions to test out some of our control theory and add to our knowledge regarding the performance of a personal VTOL aircraft.”

Russell Decker, CEO of ASI said, “American Space Industries is very pleased to be working with Moller International to help put this futuristic vehicle into hobbyist’s hands today. Dr. Moller’s Skycar® is a pioneering example of the advanced flight concepts that will help define the future of personal flight. Building and flying a radio control version of this vehicle, and utilizing the latest manufacturing techniques and new super-lightweight materials, the craft will provide hours of fun for hobbyists everywhere. Recent advancements in battery design, material science, and computer technology permit the operation of this radio control model that will closely emulate the extremely precise flight characteristics of the Moller Skycar®“. The Skycar® is not a Quad-copter, it’s much more and this model is the first of its kind at this scale and will be an absolute dream to fly.