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Home Opinion Flying cars, the next big thing?

Admit it, we’ve all been fascinated with the big boy toys that James Bond had flaunted on screen. But, have you ever wondered if these toys were real, what could the consequences be?

This article is all about unveiling that reality and bringing you closer to what seemed as objects from fantasyland. This is certainly going to give your imagination plenty of wings. So gear up and read on.

Transportation by any means (road, rail, water, air) was meant to carry a person or a group of people from point A to point B. Seems quite boring right? But what if I were to tell you that you can get rid of the boring lines at the airport/ railway station and directly be the pilot to your next trip? Wouldn’t that be fun!

Well, flying cars have been spoken about for a very long time now. It’s a personal vehicle intended on providing door-to-door aerial transportation. The good news is that the fulfillment of such vehicles is being developed. These vehicles include roadable aircrafts and hovercrafts. These vehixles might have caught your attention in fiction movies such as Harry Potter, Jetsons, Star Wars or perhaps the Back to the Future series. The flying cars remains a common feature of science fiction and will always be. Here’s a look into some of the production ready (well, almost) flying cars.

Moller Skycar:

Moller Skycar is a prototype Vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that was invented by Paul Moller.

Here’s a fun fact: Paul Moller has been attempting to develop such a vehicle type for more than 50 years.

The M400:

The M400 is a craft that is currently under development that is purported to transport at least 4 people. There are 6-seat variations planned too. The reason that this is defined as a car is because it is aimed at being a popular means of transport for anyone who can drive.

Moller Skycar

After 40 years and around $ 100,000,000 in expenditure, the Skycar had demonstrated tethered hovering capability. After several attempts and a few lawsuits filed against the company, the efforts are still on to bring out the Skycar.

Engine:

An affiliate to Moller company called Freedom Motors are developing engines for such cars. They are Wankel Engines branded “Rotapower”that have a direct drive to propulsion fan. Each fan is contained in Kevlar-lined housings that provide further protection for bystanders. The good part is that the Rotapower Wankel Engine is claimed to operate on any fuel, but not limited to gasoline, diesel, methanol and clean renewable ethanol.

Moller had announced a 503 cc Rotapower engine on November 1, 2013. This engine had achieved 102 horse power. Despite the announcements and such, the Rotapower engines have never been mass-produced.  As of 2015, Moller claims to have a backlog of conditional orders and letters of intent of over 3.5 Million Rotapower Engines.

Here’s more on the Moller skycar:

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Capacity: 4

Length: 21 ft 6 (prior prototype (year 2010): 19’6″) in (6.5 (prior prototype: 5.9m) m)

Wingspan: 8 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.6 m)

Height: 7 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.3 m)

Empty weight: 2,400 lb ((prior prototype: same) 1,088 kg)

Gross weight: 3120 lb (1,415 kg)

Powerplant: 8 × 530cc Rotapower rotary engines, 180 hp (134 kW) each

8 × electric motor back-up (short-term boosts of up to 900lb thrust with both rotary and electric engines powering the prop), 120 hp ( kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 331 (prior prototype: 330) mph (533 (prior prototype: 531 kmh) km/h)

Cruise speed: 308 (prior prototype: 305) mph (496 (prior prototype: 491) km/h)

Range: 805 miles (1,213 km)

Endurance: 5.9 hours

Service ceiling: 36,000 ft ((prior prototype: same) 10,973 m)

Rate of climb: 4,800 ft/min (24 m/s)

 

2. AeroMobil s.r.o. AeroMobil

* Please note that Aeromobil is to be confused with Aeromobile ot Airmobile.

Aeromobil s.r.o Aeromobil is a Slovak prototype roadable, aircraft that was designed by Stefan Klien and first flown in 2013. Co-founded by Juraj Vaculik indicated in Marh 2015 that the vehicle is intended for “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts”.

With expectations of deliveries somewhere in 2018, the Aeromobil is currently taking shape and flight.

The Aeromobil:

The first prototype was developed from the idea that a vehicle can be converted from an automobile to an aircraft. Seemingly enough, the version 2.5 proof-of concepts took around 2 decades to develop and it finally took flight in 2013.

As of 2013, there have been 4 developmental versions of the Aeromobil (1.2, 2.0, 2.5 and the 3.0). The earlier versions lacked folding wings and the later versions had folding wings and fins around their wheels. Since the crash of one of its prototypes in 2015, the company hopes to deliver a fare few cars by 2018.

General characteristics:

Crew: two

Capacity: two passengers

Length: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)

Wingspan: 8.32 m (27 ft 4 in) wings extended

Width: 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in) wings folded

Empty weight: 600 kg (1,323 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 four cylinder horizontally-opposed liquid and air-cooled piston aircraft engine, 75 kW (100 hp)

Performance

Maximum speed: 200 km/h (124 mph; 108 kn) maximum road speed: 160 km/h (99 mph)

Stall speed: 60 km/h (37 mph; 32 kn)

Range: 700 km (435 mi; 378 nmi) Road range: 875 km (544 mi)

Driving fuel consumption: 8 l/100 km (29.4 mpg-US; 35.3 mpg-imp)

Flight fuel consumption: 15 l (4.0 US gal; 3.3 imp gal) /hour

 

Volocopter:

Manufactured by a company named e-volo, the VC200 Volocopter is a single-place experimental electric multi-rotor helicopter.

VC 200:

The e-voloVC200 is the second in a series of multi-rotor designs from the German manufacturer e-volo. The single-place 16 motor all-inclusive VC1 was demonstrated on 21 October 2011. However, the VC200 comes with 18 engines suspended around an aluminum truss frames.

Although, the company isn’t too open about the volocopter, here is what we know:

General characteristics:

Crew: one

Powerplant: 18 × Direct drive electric, 2 kW (2.7 hp) each

Propellers: two-bladed

Wrap up:

The future is coming sooner than you might have expected. Soon, individuals will be able to explore more open skies and we might see traffic above us too :P

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