What A Concept: Sky Commuter For Sale

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Has the dream of generations been tucked away in a garage in Dawsonville, Ga., for 20 years? The last remaining Sky Commuter proof-of-concept flying car is for sale on eBay. The Sky Commuter is a two-place carbon-fiber vehicle with a single front and two rear fans that was hoped to provide VTOL performance. By late Sunday, with less than a day left in the listing, bidding had reached $49,600. The seller candidly notes that the only reason this particular vehicle survived is because no one has tried to fly it. Both other concept vehicles were lost in accidents. However, he also points out that the others did get about 10 feet off the ground in free flight before meeting their ends and suggests that modern technology might solve the control issues that computers in the late 1980s simply didn't have the horsepower to manage. This Sky Commuter isn't in "flying" condition but it's nonetheless a show-stopper, he insists, attracting crowds on the few occasions he's taken it in public. And while it might seem like an anachronistic novelty, the Sky Commuter was the result of a pretty serious attempt at making that aircraft-in-the-garage dream a reality. Boeing engineer Fred Barker was behind the project, which the seller says attracted about $6 million in development funding from 60 investors. Everything about the vehicle was "cutting edge" at the time, from the carbon-fiber construction to the computer-controlled ducted fans. However, the engineers never could figure out a way to make it stable in flight and the project was dropped in about 1990. The seller doesn't explain how the last surviving Sky Commuter ended up in his garage. While he does hold out hope the project could be resurrected, it seems likely the vehicle will end up in a museum or as some kind of promotional prop. Bids close at just before 11 a.m. EST Monday.