It’s become a cliche to ask why we don’t have flying cars yet, since they’ve been a dream of science fiction writers and gadgeteers for decades. It’s not easy to build a flying car, that’s why–but Moller International has been working on it for years and has announced that it is in the process of completing its fourth “Jetson”–well, they don’t call it a flying car, they call it a “volantor airframe,” but still–and expects to complete forty of them by 2009. And Moller, as a glance at its website will reveal, has much bigger plans down the road for their flagship design, the M400 Skycar. (Via Gizmodo.)
The two-passenger, saucer-shaped M200G Jetson is designed for operation at up to 10 feet above the ground (so its operators don’t need pilot’s licenses), uses fly-by-wire technology (meaning a computer takes care of all the tricky control stuff and you just have to point it where you want to go) and:
can take-off and land vertically, is the size of a small automobile, operates vibration-free with little noise and is also qualified to travel short distances on the ground as an automobile as well. The prototype M200X has completed over two hundred flights with and without a pilot on board and can be seen flying here. In addition to the M200G, the Company plans to offer the M200E, a kit-built version of its Jetson aircraft with sales beginning in 2010. The M200E will not have the same software enabled altitude constraints as the M200G and the Company expects the M200E to be operable as an Experimental class aircraft.
The eight rotary engines give the Jetson a cruising speed of 75 miles per hour, a maximum speed of 100, a range of 100 miles, and a cargo capacity of up to 250 pounds. The engines operate on unleaded gasoline and can also be configured to run on other fuels.
If you want one, you have to identify yourself as a