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World's first biofuel-powered flying car - Parajet Skycar drives like a car and flies like a plane


By WcP.Scientific.Mind - Posted on 17 November 2008

Gilo Cardozo’s flying car

(quote)

To Timbuktu by flying car: it sounds the most unlikely journey on earth; a sci-fi voyage from the pages of Jules Verne. But this is no fantasy. The car really flies. And the journey will become reality early in the new year when two explorers set off from London in a propeller-powered dune buggy heading for the Sahara.

The seed of this improbable adventure was sown four years ago when Gilo Cardozo, a paramotor manufacturer, had a eureka moment. For those not familiar with paramotors, picture a parachutist with a giant industrial fan strapped to his back, which provides forward motion and boosts lift for the parachute - or wing - during takeoff. Cardozo’s brainwave was to attach a car to the fan. “I started making a paramotor on wheels that you sit on and take off and it suddenly occurred to me, ‘Why not just have a car that does everything?’” recalls Cardozo, whose Wiltshire-based company Parajet built the paramotor that the adventurer Bear Grylls used to fly near Everest last year.

world’s first bio-fuelled flying car

A workable flying car has been the inventors’ holy grail for half a century, but the reality has remained elusive. Just ask Paul Moller, the Canadian engineer whose four-seater Skycar is still at the prototype stage after 40 years and more than £100m of development. Cardozo, a self-taught engineer with a tiny fraction of that budget, thinks he may finally have cracked it. “I’ve been dreaming about making flying cars since I was a boy,” he says, “thinking about all the ways it could be done and seeing how all the other people in the world have done it wrong. “No one’s ever made one that really does work that you can go out and buy. But here’s the ultimate solution: it’s cheap, it’s safe, it works, all the technology’s already there. So I pushed ahead and thought, ‘We’ve got to do it’.”

Without recent advances in flexible wing technology, the idea would barely have got off the ground. New aerodynamic profiles and materials make it possible to lift a vehicle weighing 1,500lb and passengers without dangerous instability. “This thing will launch itself without any pilot input,” says Cardozo. “You just open it up and it goes. The more power you put on, the faster you go until you come off the ground [at 35mph]. The wing will basically lock above you [once airborne] and stay there, without weaving, at speeds of up to 80mph.”

’Next January, gentlemen, we shall travel from London to Timbuktu. In a flying car...’

Fully road-legal - the car passed the government’s single vehicle approval test last month - and designed to run on bioethanol, Cardozo’s Skycar is powered by a modified 140bhp Yamaha R1 superbike engine with a lightweight automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission) gear-box from a snowmobile. It boasts Ferrari-beating acceleration on land, an air speed of up to 80mph and can swap between road and flight modes in minutes. “The fan’s static when you’re driving around,” says Cardozo. “The engineering challenge was getting a really reliable system that will switch power between wheels or fan.”

With chief pilot and expedition organiser Neil Laughton, Cardozo will fly and drive the two-seater more than 3,700 miles to Timbuktu. Setting off on January 14, they will take about 40 days to reach the city in Mali, west Africa, whose name is a byword for the back end of beyond (a recent survey found a third of young Britons claimed not to believe that Timbuktu exists).

Parajet Skycar

The team has spent £130,000 developing and attempting to make the Skycar desert-proof. The vehicle is in fact a modified Rage Motorsport off-road racing buggy, and will be followed by a support convoy including an eight-wheel truck, two Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4s and several motorbikes. If the buggy’s 1000cc engine fails in the air, the machine is designed to glide back to earth for an emergency landing, like any aircraft. But it’s also equipped with an emergency, rocket-launched parachute in case the canopy collapses.

The Skycar’s first challenge will be the 22-mile flight across the English Channel, before landing in France and continuing by road. Then, after a high-altitude navigation over the Pyrenees, it faces another all-or-nothing crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar. “If the transmission system or engine go down, we risk losing our car in the water,” says Cardozo. “We’re looking into flotation devices like they use on lifeboats. You attach them to the car and throw them out to stop it sinking.”

bio-fueled flying car

How much of the Skycar’s voyage will be airborne and how much earthbound will depend on the prevailing conditions. But the planned route will take the team through Mauritania, Morocco and into Mali and include a crossing of the Sahara’s remote “empty quarter”, where they will need to be self-sufficient for up to two weeks. Laughton - a pilot - claims the car is easier to fly than planes or helicopters. “It’s so much less complex then either of those two or pretty much anything else I’ve flown,” he says. “It’s just got a throttle and two foot pedals for steering and that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t get much easier. One minute you’re dragging on a sandy beach and the next minute you’re flying over it.”

If the Skycar comes through its maiden voyage, Cardozo’s company plans to put it into limited production with a price of somewhere between £35,000 and £40,000 for a standard model and £60,000 for a high-performance sports version. Unlike a light aircraft, potential buyers won’t need a private pilot’s licence to fly a Skycar, just one day’s tuition and a powered parachute licence. “It will be a serious aircraft but also a proper road machine, with acceleration to match your average sports car,” says Cardozo.

Autovolantor by Moller International: the flying car, supposedly based on a Ferrari, could one day ferry commuters to work

The driver unpacks the parafoil wing from the boot and manually deploys it from the rear of the car. He switches the transmission from road mode, which drives the wheels, to flight mode, which powers the rear fan. The fan’s thrust pushes the car forward, providing lift for the wing as the car reaches 35mph – takeoff speed. Once airborne, pedals in the footwell steer the Skycar by pulling cables that change the wing’s shape. The Skycar has a flying range of about 180 miles. If the wing is damaged or collapses, the pilot can fire a roof-mounted emergency parachute that allows the car to float safely back to earth.

Vital Statistics
Engine 1000cc, Four Cylinders
Power 140bhp
Range 180 Miles (Flight) / 250 Miles (Road)
Cruising Altitude 2,000-3,000ft
Maximum Altitude 15,000ft
Acceleration 0-60mph: 4.5sec (On Road)
Top Speed 80mph (Flight) / 110mph (Road)
Cost £35,000

(unquote)

Images courtesy of Skycar and Solent News

Original Source: Times Online UK

Related Articles: Flying car based on Ferrari 'could be reality within two years', BioFuel Powered Flying Car Expedition 2009, Gonna Fly This Car to Africa. and Moller SkyCar (video)

Official Sites: Skycar Expedition 2009 and Moller

Hey there, i think this is wonderful lmao. Like imagine all those traffic troubles just gone. No more waiting, only freedom! Flying cars wow! Do you guys need help with http://writeanypapers.com/term-papers/">writing a term paper? Because i'm kinda good at this!

Since years people are anticipating for such flying cars as they are so cool and there is no limit of speed and issue of traffic if it's drove in the sky.

This is so amazing! With the traffic problems and parking scarcity we experienced on land, this seems to be a great idea. It must have been very expensive building this kind. This might be made from branded and quality car parts which maybe lighter. Makes me wonder about its differences with the usual cars. Are flying cars now the future of driving? I'd love to ride on one of this someday, hopefully. :)

Now can you imagine the traffic in the air?? I believe we'll face it in near 50 years..
This car is good to cross rivers by air to looking for the nearest bridge))

The Car looks interesting and due to bio fuel it is safe also. Should carry on inventing and bettering automobiles like this.

Wow! This is a brilliant idea! I recently made a https://www.donatecarusa.com/">car donation towards a group that makes this kind of projects. I really hope they can stabilize such a car and even mass produce them. I would love to ride one of these Skycars in the near future.

Electric Cars emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.

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