DAVIS, CA — (Marketwire) — 04/18/11 — Moller International (OTCBB: MLER) ("The Company") is pleased to announce that they have scheduled a demonstration flight of its ethanol-fueled M400 Skycar volantor. This invitation-only media event is scheduled to take place on October 11, 2011 in Vacaville, CA. Over 250 members of the domestic and international press have already indicated an interest in attending this historic flight.
I really need one of these. Forget about all the other toys I have said that about, I’m serious about this one. Really.
Actually, if I can’t have one of those, then their hobbled (it is limited by computer to 10ft max ground clearance) Neuera (pronounced “new-era”) would be fun, but not quite as practical for commuting:
Hes kinda shady
and not too good at flying machines
making one work is not the same as making one a day.
His biggest hold-back will be the fact that he can't make the engines for this, and nobody else will, as of yet. He's trying to get an engine production deal going – it will be the linchpin in this enterprise.
Valid point on the stock problems – that was not a very bright thing to do. It would be a shame to see all the technical efforts come to naught over an FTC violation, but it wouldn't be the first time that has happened.
As far as the reference in both of those links to "the machine can only hover 15 feet above the ground", that is due to insurance requirements and the requirement that the test vehicle be tethered to a crane. Most VTOL testing is done that way (see my article on the rocket packs, for instance). I don't doubt that the machine CAN go higher, and I'd be willing to bet valuable body parts that it HAS (knowing Moller's apparent disregard for following the letter of the law, and hell if I were him I'd certainly have done it), but such activities would have to be kept secret for fear of scaring the insurer. It's sad that so much of our life in the USA is dictated by insurance or laws designed to protect us from ourselves. That's why you typically see more of this kind of development in other countries where such issues are not as present.
These maschines can hover at reasonable altitudes, just like a helicopter. The hover ceieling depends on the reserve power and whether the engine has forced aspiration (turbocharging). It's double-whammy, because the air getting less dense lowers your HP and the thinner air makes less thrust itself (lower massflow from the same fan RPM).
The whole thing with Moller is that he seems to have made a career out of what amounts to a single, unsuccessful vehicle. Yes there have been several versions, but remember that the first two didn't really fly at all, and the last time he flew ANYTHING was 7 years ago. Not a blistering pace, yet his company burns through over a million dollars a year of investor's money, while doing very little.
Yes, I totally agree – I'd expect the performance envelope of such machines to be similar to a helicopter for just the reasons you mention. I think Moller's past marketing hype comparing his skycar to a fixed wing airplane in terms of performance is an awful stretch. He does argue that in forward flight mode, the body & small wings generate lift which makes it more efficient than helicopters. But I'd venture to guess that it's somewhere in between.
True, Moller's pace seems horribly slow. He's now trying to market the saucer shaped vehicle, constrained to a service height of 10 feet (so it can be classified as an off-road ground-effect ATV). I think it would be fun to have one, but how many people can afford an obvious TOY like that. It would be a useful ranch vehicle for fence patrol and so forth, but it has limited utility. Of course, the limitation is in software, so at some point, it would probably be hacked.
It does seem a very long time since there have been publicly shown test flights, though I can only assume that they haven't just parked the skycar prototype in a hangar all this time. It will be very interesting to see if he makes his published demo flight deadline, and how that flight goes.
Actually it's been parked in Moller's factory, at 1222 Research Pk Drive, in Davis CA.
Three weks to go, and Moller has not invited anyone. It looks like the demonstration is NOT going to happen Oct 11 th. Another big boatload of Moller FAIL has just hit the docks…
I'm a pilot myself and I would love to fly it @ my own risk, but it seems they don't get anywhere except making promises about when they're ready to actually fly