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Buy a Moller SkyCar Prototype on eBay 178

Posted by michael
from the make-you-heirs-happy dept.
HobbySpacer writes "Moller International has announced that it will offer its first working Skycar for sale on eBay starting January 31st - Press Release. The M400P prototype has repeatedly flown short hovering flights on tethers in tests since 2001 (see videos). The company warns that although '[a]ll systems are operational. Potential buyers are cautioned that this is a prototype model and considered an experimental aircraft.' Also, 'the Skycar has not yet been approved as a road vehicle.' A more powerful 2nd gen production version is currently under construction for longer untethered test flights this year."
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Buy a Moller SkyCar Prototype on eBay

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  • How very Hanna-Barberaish.
    • by droopus (33472) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:58PM (#5158589)
      Uh huh. What I don't get is once it collapses into a briefcase, how did Moller reduce the mass so you can actually lift the briefcase?

      In case the sarcasm tag wasn't on, I no more believe that Moller can actually make a reliable flying car that gets 28mpg (running on good old Texaco Regular of course) @ 350mph @ 20k feet @ 65dba than they could accomplish the aforementioned mass-reduction-briefcase trick.

      What they will offer is a hunk of red, expensive vaporware that sits in your garage like the Russian shuttle [floridatoday.com] they tried to sell on ebay a year or so ago.

      Maybe ebay should have a "got too much money sitting around?" section....
  • ...is based on the DeLorean!
  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by jdkincad (576359) <insane.cellist@gmail.com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:27PM (#5158450)
    Why would a flying car need to be approved as a road vehicle?
    • Re:Question (Score:2, Funny)

      by lexarius (560925)
      You probably get better mileage if you don't have to expend lots of fuel keeping the thing up.

      Two lane highway. Two trucks taking them up. Can't pass horizontally - pass vertically!

      • >Two lane highway. Two trucks taking them up. Can't pass horizontally - pass vertically!

        get in the way of some high voltage cables, and then crash into a bridge over the highway. 25 deaths and 20.000 persons without electricity for 2 days

        Better not have to pay an assurance for a vehicle like that...
      • Great... now some idiots with too much money can cut you off from the left and the right side of the road and from above.

        The future sure looks bright.
  • Ebay link? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by TenderMuffin (319798)
    Anyone have the link to the car on ebay?
  • OK.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by KimiDalamori (579444) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:28PM (#5158455)
    So, basically I can buy a car that is perfectly legal to leave in my garage and never take out. Wicked, I can see it now: "Dad, can I have the keys to the skycar?" "No, son, we're not sure yet whether or not it will blow up." ... I say if someone has the extra money to buy this thing, he can give it to me instead, I'll put it to better use.
    • Re:OK.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Maniakes (216039)
      So, basically I can buy a car that is perfectly legal to leave in my garage and never take out.

      You can drive it on your own property (or any private property w/approval of the owner), and you can fly it over international waters . I would think that you could fly it below a certain altitude over your own property, but I can't find a link.

      So yes, completely useless for transport (unless you're Ted Turner [turnerfoundation.org] and own millions of acres of land), this isn't much use as transport. But there's always the "Cool! I have a flying car!" factor, plus if Moller actually attains commercial success their prototype will have huge collector's value.
      • Re:OK.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sacarino (619753)
        Finally a /. topic I have some decent knowledge about.

        A homebuilt/amateur-built aircraft - otherwise known as experimental - is one that the builder builds 51% of the aircraft.

        They must be inspected by an FAA Inspector or a Designated Inspector (essentially the same, similar to a contract position) in order to get an airworthiness certificate. You cannot expect to get away with slapping a gyrocopter blade on your lawnmower and flying around Podunk, Iowa (Not legally, anyways).

        Per the Experimental Aircraft Association [eaa.org]
        The builder(s) must provide logs of when, where and how construction took place, along with supporting documents and photographs. If the aircraft passes this inspection, a pilot must fly between 25-40 hours of test flights in specific non-populated areas to make sure all components are operating properly. Only after that test time is flown may passengers be flown in the aircraft.

        Anyway, in reference to the question about where you could operate this contraption at.... In accordance with federal aviation reg (FAR) 91.319, you and your skycar would be limited to joyrides (no charging!) over non-dense population areas (no flying through downtown Manhattan) operations in visual conditions during the day only.

        Densely populated areas are shown on aviation sectional charts as yellow (that's the shape the lights of the city look like at night from altitude) so as long as you avoid those you should be ok. You might want to check with your local FAA Flight Standards District Office [faa.gov] (FSDO - pronounced "Fizz-do") to get the information straight from the horse's mouth, legal-wise.
        As far as the regs go, FAR91.119 states
        Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

        (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
        (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
        (c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
        (d) Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.
    • Re:OK.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by PurpleFloyd (149812)
      Experimental private aircraft are perfectly legal to fly (at least in the US); they just don't go through all the really heavy test-to-destruction stuff that the FAA requires for some components. Of course, they still need to be approved as airworthy, follow maintinance schedules, and have a big "EXPERIMENTAL" sticker posted on the side, but if you could prove it's airworthy, you could fly it to your heart's content.

      <DISCLAIMER TYPE="LONGWINDED,DUMB">
      Note that I am not an FAA representative; if you want to license your airplane, talk to someone who is. I take no responsibility for anyone trying to replicate the Spruce Goose in their spare time, then flying it, crashing, and saying "It's OK, I read it on Slashdot"! Don't be a moron. Please.
      </DISCLAIMER>

  • by TrixX (187353) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:28PM (#5158456) Homepage Journal

    So I guess Duke Nukem Forever is coming out soon.
  • by ToKsUri (608742)
    Any relationship with the flying exoskeleton also sold at ebay? Are all thie flying vehicles prototypes ending at ebay? Is no one succeeding to end in a real shop?
    • by Goonie (8651)
      No connection, except that they're both trying to build personal VTOL craft.

      As for whether anyone has succeeded, well, the closest thing you'll find is probably this Japanese mini-helicopter [engineeringsystem.co.jp] that was featured on /. a while ago. It flies, but from all reports it's not exactly the safest gadget ever made...

  • Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    Why would anyone buy this?

    It isn't approved for traffic, and it's pretty much a useless prototype.

    oh well, ebay auctions are great for slashdot articles at least...
    • Well if it works out they way they want it to (ex. car of the future), the first prototype could be a pretty valuable commodity for collectors or museums. Besides, maybe some one just wants to give the company so capital and get something in return. Have you ever seen what some people buy at a charity auction?
  • Um... why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:31PM (#5158465)
    Why on earth would a company with something as groundbreaking as a flying car sell the prototype, especially a functional version?

    Surely it would be the one that you'd want to keep and the one that has the most company history in it so to speak. In any case, selling the prototype off seems very strange...
    • Re:Um... why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lexarius (560925)
      Because the prototype is useless. Oh, sure, it flies and all, but what is a company going to do with a prototype? It's the designs that matter. The prototype is just to prove that the designs work and find where the flaws are. After that, it is an asset that isn't doing any work. So they turn it into money so they can afford to make the next version.
    • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:47PM (#5158549)
      Personally I think it's all about insurance.

      It said that it can't do untethered flight because the insurance would go way up. Also they haven't yet tried any manned flights for the same reason.

      What they want is for someone to fly it. They are banking on that someone who pays $1m for a flying car is actually going to want to use it.
      Then they just check the darwin awards every day to see how long it lasts... :)

      • Actually, I read from a place or two that despite Moeller's assertions that it is a stable airplane, the FAA believes otherwise and wouldn't let him fly it unteathered.

        The sources I've read also paint the man as not much more than a politician crossed with a used car dealer (read: big fat liar).

        Take that however you like it.
    • Re:Um... why? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Because it is a completely useless concept with no future?

      It is poweree by 4 rotary engines, and if any one fail, you will fall to the ground. The engine is a new and not very well tested type. Let's assume you are lucky, and each engine only fails every 4000 hours, your skycar will suffer a catasrophic crash every 1000 hours. And that is just the engines!!. A plane and even a helicopter can glide to a controlled ground impact. This will not.

      Statistically you will be much safer as a bull rider in a rodeo.

      • Nah, in theory, the M400 can fly with only 2 operational engines. At least thats what its creators say. And its 3 onboard computers can take over each others operations if one or two of the three happen to fail. It has a parachute system and crumple zone nose cone.
  • by Kshu (608394) <j&post,ro> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:31PM (#5158468)
    And anyone who knows how roads in Romania look like will agree with me...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd like to see a Chocolate Factory up for sale on eBay, that would make my day, then I could finally make chocolate gold pressed latnum bars!

    Oompa Loompa world!
  • Affordable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theNote (319197) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:31PM (#5158470)
    The site says the car is "personally affordable".

    Then, when you click on the purchase link [moller.com] you find out it costs $1,000,000.
    • that's only if you want one of the first 100 produced. If you don't care until after 400 have already been shipped it's only $500,000. [/satire]
    • "The number of UHNWIs rose 2.6% to just over 57,000 people at the end of last year." (Ultra-HNWIs have financial assets of more than U.S. $30 million.) "

      (See here [ml.com] for the details.)

      Of those 57,000 people, I'm sure one of them can afford a flying car :) I know I would if I had that kinda cash...

    • To me that just means the author of the quote (inventor/webmaster/marketeer) can personally afford the car.

      I don't see where's the confusion.

  • Doh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by JohnFluxx (413620) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:31PM (#5158473)
    I was all set to place a bid, and had my millions ready to put down. I complied with everything they wanted, then I saw right near the end it said:

    "You must be 18 years of age or older to Bid."

    dammit.
  • ... I can act out stuff from, Kevin Smith's The Flying car [viewaskew.com]
  • by deft (253558) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:32PM (#5158477) Homepage
    will it come down as fast as the server came down when 1000 slahsdot readers jumped on it?
    • For some strange reason this beckons the idea of someone-less-than-brilliant putting a web server in one of these things.

      Which would beg the question of what happens first:

      - 1000 simulatenous HTTP request bring the car down.
      - 1000-cumulative-pounds of slashdot readers bring the car down (physically).
      - 1 slashdot reader makes a Bewoulf cluster of 1000 of these things.

  • Ah. eBay. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Big Mark (575945) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:33PM (#5158484)
    I'm seriously tempted to put a bid in for this and not pay. I'd get the mother of all negative feedback then!

    Negative from SkyCar: Seller didn't pay and is a cunt. E-
    Response by ukmarkyboy: Admit it. You're the goatse man.

    -Mark
  • Looks like (Score:2, Funny)

    by gearheadsmp (569823)
    they'll have to use the income from the sale on e-bay to buy a new web server after this Slashdotting.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:34PM (#5158494) Journal
    Moller's Skycar has been "six months away from flight" for longer than I've been alive. The thing is a nightmare from an inteference drag standpoint, and his figures for fuel consumption are totally unrealistic (especially as the BSFC for the type of engine he's using is worse than traditional spark-ignition reciprocating engines).

    Based on Moller's track record, the thing will _never_ fly. All it does is suck investment money. He's even worse than Bede (at least a few of Bede's aircraft actually flew and were successful).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Totally agree.



      More importantly, the design is flawed. The first basic rule of any aircraft design should be "can it glide back to earth in the event of a complete power failure?" Conventional aircrafts can glide and helicopters autorotates, the Moller Skycar will just drop like a rock.

      • The first basic rule of any aircraft design should be "can it glide back to earth in the event of a complete power failure?"

        So what happens to a helicopter in the event of a complete power failure?
        • Autorotation. The blades don't just stopped. It''s basically a glide.
          • by jerryasher (151512) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @07:09PM (#5158908)
            The way autorotation works on a helicopter (not a gyrocopter) is truly amazing. It converts stored energy (height) into rotational energy (you rotate (twist) the blade to decrease their angle of attack "bite" so they spin really fast). Meanwhile you plummet. That's not true. You don't plummet. (But it sure looks that way.)

            When you get close to the ground (one chance!) you convert the rotational energy into lift. You retwist the blades generating enough lift to slow you to landing speed.

            I've only watched practice sessions. But I think the next step is to change your shorts.
            • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @08:34PM (#5159324) Journal
              My friend's dad taught helicopter flight in the navy. Two things would actually require a change of shorts on occasion. Autorotation landing was one. He also used to reset the altimiter in dual engine helicopters and have the cadet try to restart the engine before the copter crashed. The poor cadets would think they were about to pancake on the ground when they failed to restart the engine in time, when in reality they had hundreds of feet to spare.

              Now why would picturing some poor sap's mortal terror be so funny to me?

              You couldn't do that with autorotation practice, though. Like you said, you have one shot to do it right, otherwise you have used up all your rotational energy and are too close to the ground to restart the engines. You have to do it at the right time, I believe that the ground effect has something to do with it working right as well.

              Scary!
      • Specs from Moller's pages indicate that the vehicle is equipped with two parachutes that should be able to bring the entire vehicle down safely. The idea of providing entire aircraft with parachutes was originally explored I believe in a Scientific American article that argued that it was quite feasible to equip most aircraft with sets of parachutes that could bring a disabled craft down safely.

    • BSFC definition at

      http://www.westechperformance.com/pages/Tech_Lib ra ry/Understanding/bsfc.html

    • Moller's Skycar has been "six months away from flight" for longer than I've been alive.

      Yeah. I have Moller's brochure from 1974. His "Discojet" was supposed to be about a year from commercial delivery. That was 29 years ago.

      His "Skycar" doesn't fly. Hovering while suspended from a crane doesn't qualify as flying.

      In three decades Moller hasn't produced a free-flying prototype. That's inexcusable. Such things were built in the 1950s, after all. The AvroCar and the Hiller Flying Platform both flew in the 1950s. Stability was lousy, range was lousy, and fuel economy was lousy, but they flew. VTOL is only hard if it has to work well enough to be useful. If all you need is a cool demo, it's straightforward. But he can't even do that.

      Moller also claimed in 2001 to have a contract [skyaid.org] with CALTRANS for an unmanned "Aerobot" for bridge inspection, but that project doesn't seem to have been heard from since.

    • They scoffed at the Wright Brothers. Now we have Airplanes.
      They jibed Sikorsky. Now we have helicopters.
      They called Goddard a loon. Now we have rockets.

      You know what? All that bitching never helped. There simply is no benefit from it. Let the people with vision do their wacky things. Sometimes it won't pan out. Sometimes it will.

      Making progress is not easy. Complaints from the peanut gallery that it will never work because it hasnt been done before is just stupid.
      • The difference between, say, Wright and Moller?

        The Wrights were true engineers with a methodical approach. So was Sikorsky. The naysayers in those cases were naysayers probably for the heck of it.

        But Moller?

        I'm well aware of making progress not being easy etc. Moller isn't even a wacky inventor, in my opinion he's a charlatan who's been taking a lot of people for a lot of money for far too long. Even Jim Bede, who's engineering talents have been questioned by many, has produced worthwhile flying machines. Moller exemplifies all that's wrong about TLAR (That Looks About Right) engineering. His claims aren't even realistic - they actually break the laws of physics. The efficiency figures he cites for his 8 Wankel-type engines are numbers that are not achievable in this universe.

        That's the difference. An engineer could critically evaluate what the Wrights were trying to achieve, and see it was actually within the laws of physics and realms of possibility. But Moller? Bwahahahahahahaha!

        • You missed the point entirely. Have you never seen the claims hundreds of famous scientists made about flight? They said it would break the laws of physics!

          The Wright brothers were not famous scientists, just a couple of dudes. They used TLAR engineering. What you think they had wind tunnels and CAD programs? They are only praised as great engineers in HINDSIGHT because their efforsts panned out. They would have remained crackpots otherwise.

          Thank god they didn't listen to the naysayers!
          • Have you never seen the claims hundreds of famous scientists made about flight? They said it would break the laws of physics!
            Do you have a citation of any reputable physicist (famous or not) saying that flight would violate the laws of physics?

            I kind of doubt it. Birds had been flying without breaking any physical laws for a very long time; everyone knew it was possible. Furthermore, and more relevantly, people had been flying gliders for decades before the Wright Flyer took off at Kitty Hawk. Controlled, human, heavier-than-air flight had been demonstrated to be entirely possible, and there were a lot of people in the race to add power to the equation. The Wright Brothers just (maybe) got there first.

            Now, there was a lot of skepticism that powered, controlled, heavier-than-air human flight would be achieved any time soon, because so many attempts had failed so spectacularly. But anyone who knew anything about aviation knew it was possible, and would happen sooner or later. Those who believed it was impossible were by and large members of the lay public, not scientists of any kind.

            Cranks and their supporters tend to overestimate the mockery which pioneers received. They didn't think Columbus would fall off the edge of the Earth; they didn't laugh at Newton or Darwin or Einstein. Skepticism, yes -- because skepticism is the appropriate reaction to an untried venture or unproven theory. Those few people who prove the skeptics wrong (the skeptics are far more often right, something which is often conveniently forgotten) deserve our applause. But outright mockery or disbelief is far more rare than would-be pioneers and their sycophants tend to believe.

            I'm not saying Moller is a crank, mind; I don't know enough about aeronautical engineering to judge one way or another. But saying "They laughed at ____ too" is not enough to counter those who say he is.
          • You missed the point entirely. Have you never seen the claims hundreds of famous scientists made about flight? They said it would break the laws of physics!

            Name ten famous scientists who said that flight would break the laws of physics.

            The Wright brothers were not famous scientists, just a couple of dudes. They used TLAR engineering. What you think they had wind tunnels and CAD programs?

            This statement is wrong in every important respect, and it shows your lack of understanding of the differences between the Wrights and Moller.

            No, the Wrights weren't scientists. They were real engineers and they did NOT use TLAR engineering. They used a proper, methodical engineering approach, and a proper, methodical experimentation approach, slowly building up to the Wright Flyer. They didn't construct something that 'looked nice' then tried to fly it. They did have wind tunnels and extensively used them in research. Their wind tunnel still exists and can be seen at the Wright-Patterson Air Force museum in Ohio. They might not have had CAD programs, but they did know how to make a technical drawing.

            That is the difference between the Wrights and most of the other people trying for powered flight at the time. The Wrights had a proper engineering approach - the others didn't. That's why the Wrights succeeded and the others didn't.

            The difference between the Wright brothers and Moller is like night and day. I think it is you who miss the point entirely.

            • Im not gonna dig up ten, but here a start:
              Lord Kelvin "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible."

              and look here. [executive-speaker.com]
              • Well, Lord Kelvin (or those other two) hardly rank as the "hundreds" you originally claimed.

                It still says nothing about the approaches that Moller is taking and the Wrights took. As I said, the Wrights did have wind-tunnels, they did incrementally build up to their first powered flight by solving the problems not in a random way, but methodical and documented way. The other thing to remember about the vast majority of scientists is that they have less knowledge of aerodynamics than the typical private pilot.

                The thing is - what Moller is trying to do is NOT impossible. But Moller still hasn't reached the stage that the Hiller Flying Platform reached decades ago. Moller has said time and time again in the press that he was six months away. Years later he is still six months away. If he was taking a true engineering approach, he'd have at least made it as far as getting helicopter-style performance out of it - but all Moller has achieved is periodic newspaper articles about being 'six months away from flight'.
        • They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

          -- Carl Sagan

          fortune (6) is the font of all wisdom :)

  • They seem to be all in Real Media format, and I refuse to install that spyware-ridden piece of crapware called "RealOne". Links would be much appreciated, even to WMVs.
  • Potential buyers are cautioned that this is a prototype model and considered an experimental aircraft

    If it is still a protype and experimental then why don't they just wait until it is far more developed rather than offering a mediocre imitation of what they promise which will probably make itself very apparent as such?

    • They are selling it as a sort of piece of history in the making.
      If they improved it then sold it, it wouldn't be the first version, now would it?
    • Re:Uhm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Catbeller (118204)
      They need the money. Seriously need it.

      All the power to them: Moeller's been at this his whole life and he deserves to win one.

      And Kevin Smith should buy the freaking flying car!
    • Re:Uhm... (Score:2, Informative)

      by RPI Geek (640282)
      If it is still a protype and experimental then why don't they just wait until it is far more developed...

      Well, the fact that it's considered an experimental aircraft does not necessarily mean it's unsafe. Just by the fact that it's flown (tethered or not) I'm sure that they've gone through the design process many times over.

      I used to fly Cessnas, and while I was at the airport, I'd frequently see a canard-style plane that was rated as experimental simply because it was a kit plane and the owner built it in his garage. The plane was not unsafe; the owner told me that it had excellent stall characteristics, that it gave a smoother ride than most conventional small planes he's been in, and that it was generally easier to fly because it had better visibility in all directions. Also, a friend of my father is building an amphibious plane in his garage, and once he gets it flying, it will be also be considered experimental simply because it's a kit plane. The plans for the particular model he's making are constantly changing, and many of the minor changes are his doing because he found better ways to build it as he progressed.

      Sorry for such a long post, I just wanted to clear up any confusion you had about 'experimental' meaning 'untested', because they are VERY different terms.
  • Ok... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:41PM (#5158521) Homepage
    But when are we going to get the flying cars?!? Oh wait...
  • Test pilot (Score:3, Funny)

    by duckpoopy (585203) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:45PM (#5158536) Journal
    This is their way of tricking some fool into paying to be the test pilot.
  • Experimental aircraft (even experimental gliders) require a pilot's license. Good luck finding an instructor for this little gem.
  • by spac (125766) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:54PM (#5158574)
    First MOO3, now a flying car?

    Can you hear that? It's hell... freezing over.
  • until the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gets a hold of this idea.
  • It's funny, I thought that Duke Nukem Forever would come out before flying cars did...
  • by mraymer (516227) <mraymer@NOspAm.centurytel.net> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @06:14PM (#5158648) Homepage Journal
    ...we don't need roads!

    [cue Back to the Future theme]

    Now, someone please tell me... when can I get my hands on a damn Mr. Fusion?! Ugh...

    • Try www.fuser.net. They already have a fusion device, according to their neutron counts.

      They're still working on that part about making more engergy than they are using...

  • It's so nice to see my POE benefitting humanity in such a good way. The weird shit I see pass through here everyday. Flying cars, frankenstein squirrels, there isn't anything some sucker won't buy or sell.

    But really I think they want the buyer to be the one to suffer the consequences if the thing explodes in midair. And I've always wondered when I was going to get my flying car!
  • Legal to fly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikewas (119762) <wascher&gmail,com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @06:19PM (#5158674) Homepage
    This falls within the experimental aircraft catagory. This includes just about any aircraft that didn't come off of an assembly line including one-of-a-kind or kit-built aircraft as well as aircraft not designed for commercial use like warbirds.

    The Experimental Aircraft Asscociation [eaa.org] is a group of people interested in these types of aircraft. There's a large airshow hosted by them in Osh Kosh [airventure.org].

    These aircraft are subjected to thorough inspection by certified mechanics and FAA inspectors during their construction or restoration. In addition, owners of this type of aircraft tend to be more knowledgable than your average privat pilot. The result is that aircraft certificated (it's an FAA term, not a typo) as experimental aircraft have an excellent safety record. You can fly them anywhere any other private aircraft may be flown.

    • Loosely related, but my dad's RV-7 is almost done [jpkoonce.net].

      Gots to love the chain to the truck and the gas can kept in place by blocks. It's all in the details.

      -Brett
    • Not anywhere (Score:3, Informative)

      by rufusdufus (450462)
      You cannot fly experimental aircraft anywhere any other private aircraft may be flown. There are specific restrictions. From the FARs:

      "No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate over a densely populated area or in a congested airway"

      This includes over large cities and congested airspace within (usually) 30 miles of a large airport.
  • become legal.

    Will there be a need for "flying" insurance?
    Will "fly-by" shootings get an extra ordinary amount of media attention like their grounded counterparts.
    Will fast food "fly-throughs" replace drive-up windows?
    How will the government tax - air space tax?
  • by andih8u (639841)
    or does that thing look like it could transform into an autobot? --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How the hell is this ever going to replace the automobile? Listen to the noise that thing makes! It's like a couple dozen chainsaws all in chorus. The people who are near the testflights have to wear ear protectors and some kind of face masks to keep dust and other debris out of their mouth while breathing.

    Conversation of the future:

    Dad: OK kids! Let's get ready to fly! Don't forget your ear plugs and dust masks!
    Kids: Yay!
  • Now I can chase down those @#$$~~! birds after they shit on my newly waxed car!

  • They are not designed so that you can really fly them. They were/are designed to fly themselves. You tell it where you want to go and it handles the rest.


    I have followed this thing since its inception years ago. They were looking to create a means for travel for more than just a few people (though the cost ensures that only a few trust-fundies will ever own one so it doesn't matter as much). They knew it would make the skies too dangerous for most yahoos with a car to transfer into the air, plus it would be an FAA licensing nightmare. Thus, they intended to take it out of the owner's hands and make it automatic. You may "drive" it out of the garage and taxi a ways, but when it comes time to fly somewhere, the intent is you enter the destination and let it rip. It takes you there, flown by itself with inputs from a still nonexistent system for air traffic control. You as the passenger would simply sit there and read, look out the window, play video games, etc, until the thing got to the destination and landed - then you could have it to taxi/drive to a parking spot.


    Give me total control over it - let ME fly the thing - and it becomes cool. Otherwise, its richboy trash.

  • ..that will even pay for the privilege!?
    This is the mother of all cunning ideas!
  • I've been following the Moller SkyCar for years. Like most vaporware it seems to always be just about to ship.

    I think my feelings are best summed up by Fox Mulder, "I want to believe!"
  • by spun (1352)
    Weren't we all supposed to be driving aircars by now? And where the hell is my lunar hotel? Why aren't we all using picture phones?

    Dammit, this technology of the future thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. I wan't my personal robotic assistant!
  • Even a helicopter can land if it's engines fail. That thing will fall like a rock, and the passengers will die.
  • When I went to athe Moller website [moller.com] and clicked on Purchase Skycar [moller.com], I got this response:

    "Not Found
    The requested URL /purchase was not found on this server.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    Apache/1.3.27 Server at www.moller.com Port 80"

    I think I'll be watching the eBay auction with interest... and I'm certainly going to check out the feedback the buyer leaves for the seller.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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