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(Reuters)   Gassing up your Hummer got ya down? try this $3.5-million, alcohol-burning, 350-mph skycar   ( divider line
    More: Spiffy  
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29243 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Sep 2005 at 3:55 AM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

142 Comments     (+0 »)

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2005-09-30 12:02:07 PM  
When fitted with a jump start feature, they can takeoff from a standing start into forward flight, accelerate in ground effect, then commence a climb;

from wikipedia.
2005-09-30 12:02:59 PM  
Grand Theft Auto: Uh... got nothing.

/My Whip!
2005-09-30 12:03:37 PM  
I got it !!! Akranoplans all round, like flying but safer, and faster than cars. Can travel across sea and land, and all sorts of other flat shiat.
2005-09-30 12:03:54 PM  
Cheaper, more fuel efficient, and no special parts (uses only off-the-shelf automotive parts), Magic Dragon Aircar.

Interviewed the creator at EAA for the last two years. He's anything but a crank.
2005-09-30 12:04:16 PM  
Autogyros are capable of vertical takeoff, but need a short runway to land.

Autogyros need a short runway to take off but can land vertically.
2005-09-30 12:05:17 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2005-09-30 12:10:45 PM  
The really sad thing is that the Skycar's been done, flown, worked well enough to be used as a trainer for OTHER aircraft and it was the size of a freaking bus. Google X-22A, then tell me how revolutionary the skycar concept is. The thing flew from the 60s til 1980.
2005-09-30 12:12:37 PM  
The heck with the Skycar. Give me a Fan Wing!

Quieter and better lift than a helicopter.
2005-09-30 12:18:17 PM  

[image from too old to be available]

That's just fscked up right there.

of course, my favourity piece of aviation vapourware:

[image from too old to be available]
2005-09-30 12:48:24 PM  
It's farking 2005. I'm supposed to be flying to work. Fark!
2005-09-30 12:56:33 PM  
This is just Moller again trying to scarf money out of investors. I've been watching this guy since his "flying saucer with the eight chainsaw engines" in the late 1960's. Every thing he does just hovers on a tether.

He was on Mythbusters the other day, and said that he has been working on this thing (I'm sure he meant the idea of the thing) for FIFTY YEARS now. hmmm...he must have started when he was twelve.

He claims he has spent (other people's money) to the tune of TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS so far.

Does it work yet?
2005-09-30 01:27:09 PM  
No it does not work yet. and won't until things like magnetic bearings and super conductivity and such come into common use. If you really reasearch this BS on their website you can find "proof" videos such as the early rotary engine powered flying saucer video with a guy "piloting" the vehicle. In the video you can clearly see a cable attached to a crane, they call it a safety line. You can clearly see that the vehicle is actually swaying at some points on the cable and when the vehicle lands you can clearly see that the grass is only slightly waving , if an 500 lbs vehicle carring saya 175lb man is hovering over grass it would plaster the grass flat with the 800 lbs or so of thrust needed to keep it in the air !. This whole thing is total and outright BS. As of now he has flying mock up remote control vehicles which are made out of balsa wood and weigh ounces , and which yes do fly because their power to weight ratio allows for it.
2005-09-30 01:40:29 PM  

The "builder" has been ripping people off for over 20 years promising that the finished product is only a few years away.

Everytime he needs more spending money he finds a reporter to write up a story.

A year ago, he said it would cost an additional $50 million dollars to get the car to actually work. This is on top of $100's of millions he already owes his investors...
2005-09-30 02:00:16 PM  
so what your saying is that we DONT have skycars yet....
2005-09-30 02:01:48 PM  
tynin: I was there all inclusive web server admin. I was fresh out of high school and I sold myself to them hard and they handed me a $4000 check to get there site and server up and running.

Egads man.

There = a place "Go there."
Their = possesive "Get their site up..."
They're = they are

Just memorize it, it'll reflect better on you in the long run :).
2005-09-30 02:24:35 PM  
Cheaper, more fuel efficient, and no special parts (uses only off-the-shelf automotive parts), Magic Dragon Aircar.

Except it looks like that thing has the aerodynamics of a '58 Pontiac. Looks like it weights about as much, too.
And where does that intake on the front lead to?
2005-09-30 02:25:09 PM  
I have a lot of difficulty believing that it can get BETTER gas mileage than a car. A car just has to move itself forward. That thing has to move itself forward AND keep itself in the air.

I have a 2 seat Dragonfly that averages 160 mph on 4 gph; that comes to 40 mpg.

Dragonfly pic
2005-09-30 02:54:57 PM  
Archui: I have a 2 seat Dragonfly that averages 160 mph on 4 gph; that comes to 40 mpg.

Mind your units, Archui, or you're staying after school.
2005-09-30 03:16:40 PM  
Oh, and just in case your dreams are not crushed yet, you'd better check this out:

"The Commission's complaint alleges that Moller International, a California company, and Moller began selling the unregistered shares of stock directly to the public via the Internet, raising approximately $5.1 million from more than 500 investors nationwide. The company was supposedly engaged in the development of a revolutionary personal aircraft, dubbed "the Skycar," that would allow a person to travel at speeds over 400 miles-per-hour above roadways for about the same price as a luxury automobile. Moller, age 64, the company's founder, chief executive office and president, made false and misleading statements about the company's imminent listing on the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market, the projected value of company shares after such listing, and the prospect for Skycar sales and revenue. In September 2001, the company filed a fraudulent registration statement with the Commission that exaggerated the true scope of patents the company held for the Skycar."

When the real future finally arrives, I fearlessly predict that blame for its delay will be squarely placed upon a) Moller International; b) Windows 95, and; c) the insistence of a large part of the population in using the Bible as a means of scientific inquiry.
2005-09-30 03:44:22 PM  
Oh, you meen that piece of shiat I saw in Popular Mechanics / Science 20+ years ago?

/Just around the corner, my ass!
2005-09-30 03:47:48 PM  
The Moller Skycar is not just vaporware, it's a scam to defraud investors. Nieman Marcus should be made aware that they are just as liable for fraud selling this bogus aircraft as they would be claiming to sell a cure for cancer.
2005-09-30 03:57:41 PM  
LordVger: The "per hours" in numerator and denominator cancel out leaving miles per gallon.

Type this into Google: 160 mph/4 gallons per hour in mpg
and be enlightened!
2005-09-30 03:57:41 PM  
Funny thing to is if you have ever seen actual footage with audio of the experimental military ducted fan ROVs , even the tiny little bot type units that carry light weight spy cams are laughably loud. It sounds like a lawn mower in a church running at 10,000 RPM. So the enemey would hear this high pitched leaf blower sound from about 1/2 a mile away while it is stealthily taking their picture. 4 Ducted fans powereful enough to thrust 1000 or pounds into the air would be deafening. Ducted Fan technology tries to make up for the lack of wing/blade surface area by increasing RPM, results = LOUD ! Yeah I want to hear my neighbor's SkyCar come in over my house at 2am that would be just great !
2005-09-30 04:00:48 PM  
Actually the point of ducted fans is increased efficiency at the prop tips, not higher RPMs.

Prop RPM is governed by the length of the prop and speed of sound (along with the power of the engine).
2005-09-30 04:02:46 PM  

Oh come on. That thing would have a wing loading of something like 40 lbs/sq. ft, giving it a stall speed around 500 mph. If he's not a crank, he's a very brave pilot with a very big runway.
2005-09-30 04:04:34 PM  
While Moller is full of it, a few of your concerns could be allayed by reading the following

So, the problem now is getting a working flying car, not the transportation infrastructure and management that would go on afterward. Or, at least, that's the problem in theory.

Plus, as someone mentioned, if everything were automated by a central traffic agent, the police wouldn't have to watch for speeders, and it would give that much needed 'kill switch'.
2005-09-30 04:15:43 PM  
I have a 2 seat Dragonfly that averages 160 mph on 4 gph; that comes to 40 mpg.

Huh, interesting. I wouldn't have guessed that.

How can that be?
I guess rolling resistance isn't an issue.
Is it more efficient to create lift from wings moving forward than from engines pushing down? It somehow seems like it would be... but I'm not sure why I think that.
2005-09-30 04:21:39 PM  
<img src="​G"?

Hmm...Alcohol-fueled car...

(Dreams of fueling car at the pump)

"One for you...two for me!"
2005-09-30 04:45:45 PM  
2005-09-30 05:00:08 PM  
Personally, I hope there never is a flying car. As cool as it would be, just look at how pathetic and ridiculous people are when driving a vehicle in a 2 dimensional space. People run out of gas all the time, and judging by those midgit wings, you'd need to be tearing ass just to glide without engines. I personally would rather NOT have a Skycar dropping out of the sky into neighborhoods and cities during rush hour.

Even after the problem with the drivers comes how they're going to be regulated. Regulating airplanes alone is enough trouble for the FAA, what with keeping airplanes separated and radar tracking and all. People dont realize how often you see other airplanes really close when you fly. Navigation systems would have to be made so people dont get lost, which would involve set paths people would have to follow. Imagine Nascar, but faster, in the sky, with anyone driving.

The only way I can see a practical flying car is once antigravity is invented. The cars would need to go slow so as to not have people hitting each other and falling out of the sky hundreds of times a day, and slow enough that they could avoid obstacles. It takes an airplane about 1/8th of a mile just to make a 90' turn at 115 MPH. I just cant imagine a flying car ever being available until antigravity is commercially available.

//aerospace engineer
///still wants a flying car
2005-09-30 05:08:50 PM  
Archui: The "per hours" in numerator and denominator cancel out leaving miles per gallon.

My bad, and to think I read the original post more than twice. And to think I'm a math teacher. And to think it serves me right for being an ass.

Profuse apologies.
2005-09-30 05:08:58 PM  
Can you see some harried soccer mom with 6 screaming kids in the back on a cell phone while driving her huge Sport-Utility-Flying-Vehicle? That's a terrifying thought.
2005-09-30 05:22:28 PM  
megram: When did autogyros take off without a runway ? They need foreward movement to generate lift, there is a primer clutch that gets the rotor going but it isn't enough to lift the craft, that would require a tail rotor. You need a runway to take off and a very short one to land.

It's called a "jump start." If I understand correctly (being a fixed-wing pilot, not rotor wing), the rotor is spun up to operating speed by the motor, with no pitch on the collective, while the aircraft is stopped on the ground. Then you simultaneously peg the throttle and pull up on the collective. Because an autogryo has no anti-torque capability, you must disconnect the rotor from the engine as soon as you leave the ground (or else the whole aircraft would start spinning around the rotor hub), but there's enough inertia in the rotor to allow it to get you airborne with 0' ground roll. You start moving forward immediately after breaking ground, but technically it was a vertical takeoff.
2005-09-30 05:24:32 PM  
What makes the rotor spin on an autogyro, in general? The wind blowing past it?
2005-09-30 05:28:46 PM  
ChickenFriedMonkey: What makes the rotor spin on an autogyro, in general? The wind blowing past it?

The wind blowing *through* it. Autogryo rotors are tilted backwards slightly. Forward motion (provided by a pusher or tractor propellor) causes relative wind to spin the rotor, which translates some of that relative wind into lift.
2005-09-30 05:33:26 PM  
somehow it seems like that means it's spinning the wrong way.
2005-09-30 05:35:49 PM  
2005-09-30 05:00:08 PM Chadwickers

What if the flying cars were magnetic, and repulsed each other?
That would prevent a lot of accidents.
2005-09-30 05:44:44 PM  
"I like my cars like I like my women: fast, curvacious, and full of alcohol!"

\deeply sorry

Also, Bukharin, I like the idea, but wouldn't magnets that powerful fark up any sort of cool hi-tech computer shtuff in the car?

And it would take a REALLY powerful magnet to stop two 350 MPH vehicles from hitting each other.
2005-09-30 10:43:37 PM  
blakamin: Since the M400 has not yet been flown, we do not have available video footage. You can however, obtain a Media Kit which includes a compilation video of interviews with Dr. Moller, a BETA master of our most recent flight test featuring the M200X (1990) and informational brochures on Skycar and Rotapower Engines for $50 plus shipping. Please see our Sales page to order.

A BETA cartridge with a recent* test flight of a unit they're not even producing? Wow.

*in this case recent=15 years old

I predict that anyone who buys one of these things from the catalog will get their money refunded from Needless, er, Neiman Marcus when they can't deliver.

/not that anyone will actually order one.
//wish I had the $$ to prove it would happen.
///would bet my life savings Moller's "land investments" are paid for by his Skycar investors.
////Barnum was right.
//Is five too many? I think it's too many.
2005-09-30 11:29:57 PM  
Wasn't there a personal helicopter on one of last season's 60 Minutes? Counter-rotating rotors on the same shaft = no tail rotor required.

On The History Channel or Discovery I saw a personal helicopter with a single rotor and no engine... except for tiny ramjets at the tips of the rotors. Again, no tail rotor required. It looked cool. It would REALLY look cool at night. It would look like a glowing hulahoop in the sky. (The exhaust of the rotortip engines.)


Anyone remember the old (late 80s) ad for one of the Macintosh computers? Quadra? Engineers designing a flying car/personal helicopter. He clicked on 'fly'.
DANG! If only I could find my old tapes!
2005-10-01 01:28:58 AM  
The problem with Moller's idea is not the basic technology, which is fairly well understood, it's his scheme to design an actual "skycar" that any schlub can pilot, or, more to the point, can tell it where to go and it'll fly there itself. And on top of that, for it to be a new class of vehicle ("powered lift").
I don't think he wants to get past the prototype stage, because then he'd have to deal with insurance and liability and running production lines and explaining to people why he can't bring the price down to where he'd previously promised. And did I mention liability?
If he was just trying to use ducted fans and rotary engines to build a winged VTOL aircraft he'd have a working product by now and everything would be spiffy. By insisting on creating a self-navigating powered lift vehicle for non-pilots, he's ensured that he'll never have an actual product and will continue to only need to produce shiny exciting prototypes to show investors.
2005-10-01 01:39:25 AM  
coquigamer: And it would take a REALLY powerful magnet to stop two 350 MPH vehicles from hitting each other.

Heh, not only that but you'd need to make sure that the magnets in both vehicles had the same poles pointed at each other. Otherwise you just make it worse :)
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