Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

The Moeller Flying Saucer and its big brother, the Skycar.

Capable of vertical take-off and landing, the craft hovers like a helicopter up to 10ft off the ground. Any higher and the driver would need a pilot's license.

It is the brainchild of Dr Paul Moller, an aeronautics engineer who envisions a "highway in the sky" which he believes could cut conventional commuter traffic in half.

"We have this wonderful natural resource above us," Dr Moller told the BBC.

"Look at the sky above us - how many aircraft do you see? It's a great space that is not being utilised. That is what we plan to use. Cars are finished as a means of getting around. It's only a matter of time."

The flying saucer is powered by eight engines which can run on petrol, diesel or even ethanol.

Dr Moller and his team have already conducted more than 200 test flights and say the flying saucer could prove useful to rescue teams as well as landowners.

It will sell for about $90,000 (£44,700) and the only question now surrounds licensing arrangements.

Moller International has yet to establish which US agency - the Federal Aviation Administration or the Department of Transport - will authorise its use.

It sees the flying saucer as a precursor to the M400 - otherwise known as the "Skycar" - which looks a bit like the Batmobile, also boasts vertical take-off and landing, and can be driven on the road as well as flown through the sky.

By the time the Skycar goes into production - probably in about six years time - it will be capable of climbing 6,000ft a minute and travelling at up to 400 miles an hour.

See it fly here.

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