DESPITE flying cars first getting off the ground as long ago as 1949, when Moulton “Molt” Taylor, an American inventor, took to the skies in the the Aerocar, there are still very few models to buy. Now there is one fewer in the world, after a flying car crashed in spectacular style.
The SkyRunner, a favourite with Hollywood actors and celebrities, is described by its creator, Stewart Hamel, as “one of the world’s greatest adventure vehicles” but one pilot’s thirst for adventure turned to disaster when his SkyRunner failed to gain sufficient height during take-off, and smashed into the side of an airport hangar.
A husband and wife were reportedly flying the Skyrunner in Dubai, last Friday. The company says that the couple suffered “non-life-threatening injuries” during the accident.
In the footage, the flying car appears to take off without a problem, but once airborne it fails to gain height, and then collides heavily with the wall of the hangar. It requires a 450ft (137 metre) runway to take off.
The SkyRunner resembles an off-road buggy, with a chassis made from steel tubing enclosed by carbon fibre body panels. It is powered by a 115bhp Rotax engine and is capable of flying at 10,000 feet, with a 36-knot cruising speed and 120-mile range.
According to SkyRunner, the flying car is easy to operate. A throttle pedal is used to climb and descend, while two flight controls direct whether the car banks left or right.
Operating a SkyRunner requires a pilot’s license and the vehicles start at $139,000 (£100,000). The company’s machines are certified by America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Footage of the wrecked flying car (below) suggests that the vehicle’s chassis structure withstood the impact reasonably well.