Luxury Aircraft: Every time I am stuck in
constipated traffic moving at less than 50 feet per
minute, the thought that one day there will be a
better way to travel finds itself at the forefront of
my mind. Thanks to the crew at Moller International's
Skycar, there actually is a solution that is rapidly
accelerating toward reality.
The M400 Skycar is a personal vertical takeoff and
landing aircraft (VTOL) that has been on the drawing
board since the early 1960s. It seats four, gets 20
miles per gallon, has a maximum range of 750 miles,
cruises comfortably at 275 mph, has a top speed of 375
mph, and elevates up to 30,000 feet. However, on land,
at this time, it only travels around 30 to 35 mph.
Although the M400 is a work in progress today, it is
definitely part of tomorrow's transportation picture.
Despite an FAA-certified model being more than four
years away, Moller has received at least 100 purchase
reservations to date. The M400's revolutionary rotary
engine, which runs on various types of fuel, is now
being produced and marketed by Moller's sister
company, Freedom Motors.
When the M400 Skycar is ready for everyday usage, the
small aircraft will be automated without a pilot. All
occupants will be passengers only. So, no special
FAA-issued license should be required to operate it.
The FAA and NASA are currently working jointly to
devise a safe methodology of managing heavy air
traffic for smaller aircrafts. The few Skycars
available now are being used for demonstrations and
military applications. In limited production runs, the
vehicle is expected to cost around $500,000. However,
when the manufacturing volume increases, the price of
the M400s is expected to be less than $100,000.
China's Ministry of Public Security has arranged for
an upcoming meeting with Moller International to learn
more about the M400 Skycar's overall capabilities. Did
you know that China is the current world leader in the
use of train-magnetic levitation? Trains in Shanghai
today operating with this technology travel up to 268
For LxM James Rothaar
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