Moller Skycar


The Moller Skycar is a prototype personal VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft invented by Paul Moller who has been attempting to develop such vehicles for fifty years (with limited success).

The craft said to be currently under development, the M400, is purported to 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, with the driver only inputting direction and speed required with a cruising speed of 305 mph.

After forty years and $100,000,000 in expenditure the Skycar demonstrated limited tethered hovering capability in 2003. No subsequent testing has occurred, although public demonstrations have been announced and then cancelled. It has been extensively marketed for pre-order sale since the 1990’s as Moller attempted to raise more money for ‘development’ but fifty years on is often cited as a real world example of physical product vaporware. In 2009, Moller filed for bankruptcy.

A Skycar is not piloted like a traditional fixed wing airplane, and has only two hand-operated controls, which the pilot uses to inform the computer control system of her or his desired flight maneuvers. The Skycar’s ducted fans deflect air vertically for takeoff and horizontally for forward flight. The ducted fans also encase the propellers, which prevents bystanders from being exposed to moving blades as well as improving aerodynamic efficiency at low speeds.

The engines to be used are being developed by a separate Moller company called Freedom Motors. They are Wankel engines called ‘Rotapower’ which have a direct drive to a propulsion fan. Each fan is contained in Kevlar-lined housings with intake screens to provide protection to bystanders. The Skycar has four engine nacelles, each with two computer-controlled Rotapower engines. All eight engines operate independently and, allegedly, will allow for a controlled landing should any one fail.

In 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; Moller reported at the annual meeting of stockholders in Davis, California, that the reserve price had been $3,500,000. A previous attempt in 2003 to sell the M400 via eBay was also unsuccessful.

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One Comment to “Moller Skycar”

  1. Reblogged this on tantrastechnotopia and commented:
    Future of Transportation, We Can 3D Print/ 3D Rapid Manufacture Moller’s filed bankruptcy projects to make this happen again in Our Immortal Future on this Biosphere or Operating On Other Planets!

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