Moller Skycar



The Moller Skycar is a prototype personal VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft — a "flying car" — called a "volantor" by its inventor Paul Moller, who has been attempting to develop such vehicles for many years.

The craft currently under development, the M400, is intended to ultimately transport four people. It is described as a car since it is aimed at being a popular means of transport for anyone who can drive, incorporating automated flight controls. The driver should only input direction and speed, no pilot knowledge being required.

Further, developers claim that by using eight inexpensive Wankel rotary engines, its price will eventually fall close to that of a quality car, even if at the moment the price for the first units is expected to be close to USD$1 million.

Its proposed features would include 275 mph (442 km/h) cruise speed, 375 mph (603 km/h) maximum speed, eight redundant, low-emission Wankel engines for safety, residential garage size, fuel consumption like a big car, a parachute for the whole machine and road capability for short distances (to be driven to a vertiport). Although current plans call for use of alcohol fuel, cheap, lightweight fuel, such as liquid hydrogen, could be used as an alternative to gasoline, as in the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE, although the lower energy density will limit range.

The Skycar demonstrated limited tethered flight capability in 2003. More tethered flight tests are now scheduled for an undisclosed date sometime after mid 2006. Moller is currently upgrading the Skycar's engines, and the improved prototype is now called the "M400X". Additional flight tests will supposedly be conducted once Moller engineers have completed the upgrades to the Skycar's nacelles with the larger engines (projected for 2007).

Discovery Channel's MythBusters has reported that more than 200 million US dollars have gone into the development of the Skycar.

Moller has been taking refundable deposits on the M400 since 2003. Refund conditions include failure to meet rated performance or failure to obtain US FAA flight certification by December 31, 2005. Since 2003, Moller has slipped the date for FAA flight certification one year each year. As of 2006, Moller's claimed date for FAA certification stands at December 31, 2008.

In October 2006, Moller attempted to auction the only prototype of its M400 model on eBay. It failed to sell. The highest bid was $3,000,100; Dr. Moller reported at the annual meeting of stockholders on October 21, 2006 in Davis, CA that the reserve price had been $3,500,000. A previous attempt in 2003 to sell the M400 via eBay was also unsuccessful.

Given the machine's very protracted development and its ambitiousness, skepticism that the machine will work as claimed remains high. In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Moller for civil fraud (Securities And Exchange Commission v. Moller International, Inc., and Paul S. Moller, Defendants) in connection with the sale of unregistered stock, and for making unsubstantiated claims about the performance of the Skycar. Moller settled this lawsuit by agreeing to a permanent injunction and paying $50,000. In the words of the SEC complaint, "As of late 2002, MI's approximately 40 years' of development has resulted in a prototype Skycar capable of hovering about fifteen feet above the ground."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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