Moller Promises Skycar Flight Demo

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Moller International's Skycar, which has been in development for decades, will be ready to fly at an invitation-only media event on Oct. 11, the company said this week. The M400, fueled by ethanol, will lift off in Vacaville, Calif. "The Skycar has the potential to provide an airborne alternative to a significant portion of the miles now traveled by automobile," the company says. It's powered by eight custom-built rotary engines. According to the company website, the four-seat M400 will be able to fly faster than 350 mph and will be safe, easy to handle, and fuel-efficient. The company said more than 250 members of the press "have already indicated an interest in attending this historic flight."

The Skycar design features four engine nacelles that swivel to provide vertical thrust for takeoff and landing, and horizontal thrust for level flight. It briefly hovered above the ground in a past unpiloted test, while tethered. Other operating specs, according to the company, include an operational ceiling of 36,000 feet and a maximum range of 750 miles. The aircraft can take off and land in an area of 35 feet diameter, the company says.