Will Debut At The New York International Auto Show
by ANN Managing Editor (And Resident Motorhead) Rob
Let's face it -- in most "serious" aviation circles, the idea of
a flying car is met with raised eyebrows, at best -- and at worst,
outright disdain. There's arguably fair precedent for those
attitudes, given the less-than-stellar proposals to date... from
flying Ford Pintos, to the still resolutely-earthbound Moller
But there are signs of life, and innovation, in this segment. ANN reported in 2006 on the
Terrafugia, a "roadable aircraft" now under
development... and while we're still skeptics, most ANN'ers are
also quite willing to be proven wrong.
It was with a similar, measured "hmmm..." I read
recently of the latest flying-car concept, to be formally unveiled
later this month at the prestigious New York International Auto
Show. Developed by Jim Milner, the Milner Motors AirCar is billed
as a four-seat advanced-composite car that you can fly to your
destination, fold up the wings and drive it down the highway.
The Aircar features a foldable main wing in the rear of the
vehicle and a canard lifting surface in the front. For trips up to
1,000 miles, the AirCar will provide the fastest door-to-door
travel times possible, according to Milner
When airborne, the 28-ft wingspan, 3,000 lb. maximum weight
AirCar will cruise at 200 mph for up to 1,000-miles, according to
the company. Power comes from two rotary engines that drive dual
28-inch pusher ducted fans.
Once on the ground, the wings fold to 7-ft wide, and a separate
40-hp engine powers the car up to 85 mph. The initial prototype is
non-flying but driveable, and demonstrates it is possible to design
and build a car that not only flies, but is also an airplane strong
enough to drive on public roads.
As a flight instructor, airline pilot, and successful
entrepreneur, with over 35 years in the aviation industry, Milner
believes he is well-positioned to deliver on the promise of
bringing a flying car to market.
He's also hedging his bets just a bit -- as in addition to the
flying car concept, Milner will also unveil a streetbound
gas/electric automobile concept in New York -- arguably, a
more bankable concept in today's fuel-conscious automotive market,
that continues to buy Toyota Priuses in droves.
The ElectriCar (above) is a four-door, lightweight vehicle, that
shares most of the same basic design concepts as the AirCar, but
without the wings and ducted fans. The sleek vehicle -- which
actually looks quite stunning -- will be displayed alongside the
AirCar in New York.
Time will tell whether Milner's AirCar will become the
21st-Century equivalent to the Model T... or, something more like
this. Stay tuned.