Anyone who has ever been stuck in rush hour traffic on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles is familiar with the desire to press a button and turn their car into a flying machine capable of soaring above it all.
That’s the dream of Deszo Molnar, a California inventor, who is building his own Mad Max–style flying car so he can avoid the massive traffic jams Southern California is known for, according to Bloomberg.
“The flying car as a development has often been mired in the idea that you have to make something for everybody and that you have to dumb it down.”
Molnar’s flying car design isn’t for everyone and that’s OK with him — just because everyone can’t build their own flying machine doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have one, as he explained to Bloomberg.
“I think that the reality is that a lot people in this world like to have an advantage no matter what they’re doing.”
His prototype concept vehicle is built on a heavy-duty motorbike frame with roll bars attached to a huge propeller on the back that looks like something Leonardo Da Vinci would have thought up.
The flying car is actually a gyrocopter, and it’s designed to be powered more by the wind than its propellers. In the case of engine failure, the flying machine will gently float down to the ground like a leaf from a tree.
Unlike a helicopter, a gyrocopter’s propellers are passive. Once the car is moving fast enough, the blades start to spin, which gives the machine its lift, but it won’t come crashing down to the ground if things go wrong, Molnar told Bloomberg.
“You can make something that will allow you to escape this ridiculous ant line of eternity.”
The Mad Max-style flying car looks like it’s designed more for the desert than the L.A. freeways, however, and that’s probably on purpose. Molnar intends to start his own desert racing league in the Mojave so gearheads like himself can kick up some sand.
The former U.S. Air Force pilot is no stranger to creating things — he’s already made rockets and rocket-powered cars in his Los Angeles workshop, and one day, Molnar hopes to have a working flying car that will let him soar above it all.
Meanwhile, a Massachusetts-based company is working on their own version of a flying car they hope to have ready in 2018, with retail sales expected to begin in 2024.
Terrafugia hopes customers will be willing to fork out $261,000 for their semi-autonomous TF-X four-seater flying car with twin engines mounted on fold out wings. The vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph with a 500-mile flight range, and can be parked in any garage like a normal car, according to the Daily Mail.
“The TF-X operator will have final say over whether an approved landing zone is actually a safe place in which to land, and they may abort the landing attempt at any time.”
A one-tenth scale model is being tested in Massachusetts at the Wright Brothers tunnel at MIT.
The company introduced a two-seater flying car last year known as the Transition. Unlike the TF-X, it has to use a runway, and drivers need a pilot’s license to operate one, but you can still store it in your garage, its creators told the Daily Mail.
“We have been dreaming about flying cars since the turn of the 20th century. The Transition street-legal airplane is the first step on the road to the practical flying car.”
What do you think? Could you use a flying car?
[Photo by Bloomberg/YouTube]