Popular Science has been daydreaming about the flying car for decades. (Seriously, I’ve been to the office. You think an editor is working diligently, and then you glance over his shoulder – and there’s the proof. Dozens of doodles of flying cars.)
But as much as we’ve doodled, the technology needed to devise a flying car always seemed a hundred years away. Until now, that is. British inventor Giles Cardozo and a team of engineers have successfully crafted the first legal, bio-fueled flying car. In three minutes, the vehicle can convert from an all-terrain automobile to an aircraft that travels up to 70 miles per hour and reaches a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet. To do so, the driver first deploys the nylon wing and parachute. The fan’s propeller then pushes the vehicle forward, creating enough wing lift to get it off the ground at only 45 miles per hour, so long as the airstrip is longer than 650 feet.
Cardozo and his team credit today’s flexible wing technology for helping them realize their boyhood dreams. The car’s “ParaWing” utilizes a parafoil design, which is safer than the traditional, rigid wing design. It also handles extremely well and is compact enough to fit into the car’s boot.
The British inventor trusts the technology so much that he set off yesterday for a 3,720-mile trip in the flying car. Departing from London, Cardozo hopes to cruise over France, Spain, Morocco and the Western Sahara before landing in Timbuktu. If the journey goes well, he plans to sell the vehicle to the public for $76,000. That’s not bad, Cardozo, but can I recommend offering a discount to Popular Science readers and editors?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.