A biodiesel-powered flying car

04 Dec 2008


Neil LaughtonParajet, a British company has developed a prototype of the Skycar, the brainchild of Neil Laughton, an ex-Royal Marine Officer who has also served in the SAS, and is now an adventurer.

The skycar consists of a car frame attached to a paramotor, a giant fan powerful enough to propel - whatever it is strapped to - in this case the steel chassis.

For lift, the car deploys a flexible wing, similar to a parachute, which can be folded into its trunk in minutes.

Parajet says recent advancement in aerodynamics and flexible-wing technology and parafoil design has been key to developing the skycar.

The Skycar, weighing around 1,500 pounds, will take off at 35 mph from any airstrip longer than 650 feet. It will hit a top speed of 68 mph and can fly up to 300km.

While on the road, the car can go up to 180kmph and will run for 400 kilometres on a tank of ethanol. If something were to go wrong, the car can deploy a parachute while in the air.

London bank C Hoare & Co, Future Capital Partners, a firm that specialises in green projects are among those backing Laughton's project.

The current model is basic and yet fully functional and street-legal. Future models will feature snappier designs on aluminium chassis.

The vehicle's first flight will take it across the English Channel, and next it will embark upon a 5,000-kilometer trek to Timbuktu.

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