December 12, 2008

Dude, Where’s My Flying Car?

One of the disappointments of modern technology is the absence of a practical flying car. As the great Ralph Waldo Emerson once penned, “O how elusive ye are, thee flying car.” Ok, not really.

But seriously, dude, where IS my flying car?

Maybe it’s in England. The Parajet Skycar uses a different design philosophy than other attempted flying cars: simplicity. Basically, it resembles a dune buggy with a pusher propeller hanging below a parachute. Powered parachutes are a proven and widespread technology, so we have high hopes for the success of this idea.

The Parajet Skycar team is nearly ready for public demonstrations of their flying machine. You would think that simply flying it around England, and later hitting the aviation expos at Farnborough and Paris would be a good start. No, the Parajet Skycar team wants to attract the world’s attention with the audacious goal of taking the Skycar all the way to Timbuktu.

In 2009, the Parajet Skycar will fly over the English Channel, across France, Spain, across the Strait of Gibraltor, into Morocco, and deep into Africa. They’re also bringing a land-roving support team, motorcycles, and a cast of characters with names strait from a Speilberg movie: Duncan Milligan, Kim Vande Velde, Simon Westmore, Giles Cardozo, etc. Major funding is provided by Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Imagine this crew plowing through the Sahara – it’s part Mad Max, part Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. I hope that the Discovery Channel does a show about these people.

Best of luck and happy landings to the Parajet Skycar team!

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