Paul Moller on Flying Cars

September 21, 2012| Space|3 Minutes|By AAG

Flying Cars! When can I buy one? Back in the 50’s they were sure we’d all have flying cars by 2000. In the 60’s the Jetsons used their flying car for grocery shopping, and in the 70’s and 80’s Popular Science was running articles on flying cars pretty regularly. Over time they’ve become a staple of science fiction movies, with flying cars in Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, and Back to the Future 2, just to name a few. Those examples are fictional, so we’ve interviewed Paul Moller to find out when we can expect to see flying cars in real life.

Paul Moller’s believes in the dream of flying cars, but he’s doing a lot more than just dreaming: his company, Moller International, actually makes flying cars. For over 40 years now, they’ve been perfecting a series of vehicles culminating in the Moller SkyCar – an easy to maintain, cost effective, reliable VTOL aircraft. Building the world’s first flying car isn’t as easy as it might seem: for Moller’s team, it meant creating a new engine capable of the power to weight ratios required to make it practical, and serious work on the safety & navigation systems.

Flying cars require a lot of infrastructure in order to work. Just imagine thousands of pedestrians up in the sky, speeding their way to work in the morning, with no stop-signs, streetlights, or even roads to provide guidance. The FAA imagined that scenario, and it took them years to design the light-aircraft navigation systems so that the dream of flying cars didn’t quickly turn into a chaotic nightmare. It’s been in place for a while now, and the stage is set for flying cars to finally start emerging from the movies and showing in real-world skyways.

The Moller SkyCar is likely to be the world’s first practical flying car, powered by modified Wenkel rotary “Rotax” engines for VTOL takeoff and landing, with airborne top-speeds exceeding 200 miles an hour. It’s undergone years of design and testing, and Paul Moller joins us to describe just how the Moller skycar is ready to become the world’s first real-life flying car.