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Neiman Marcus Offers First Moller Skycar For Sale

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the as-seen-in-mythbusters dept.

Christmas Cheer 311

It doesn't come easy writes "Neiman Marcus has just unveiled its 2005 Christmas Catalog of Fantasy Gifts last Tuesday, and one of the items up for purchase is the prototype M400 Skycar from Moller International (for only $3.5 million US). If you've ever dreamed of owning a Skycar, this may be your only chance." From the Skycar site: "Can any automobile give you this scenario? From your garage to your destination, the M400 Skycar can cruise comfortably at 350+ MPH and achieve up to 28 miles per gallon. No traffic, no red lights, no speeding tickets. Just quiet direct transportation from point A to point B in a fraction of the time. Three dimensional mobility in place of two dimensional immobility. No matter how you look at it the automobile is only an interim step on our evolutionary path to independence from gravity. That's all it will ever be. "

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311 comments

it's a ringer (3, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13691999)

looks like the US NAVY's skycar prototypes from the 1960's

Word, folks, WORD!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692073)

Yet another great Zonk story. This IS Zonk's personal blog, right?

Nice. (3, Insightful)

Tavor (845700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692002)

But did it ever win it's FAA cert?

Re:Nice. (5, Interesting)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692024)

Not even a little. As far as I know, that particular model has never flown untethered.

Moller's been talking about Skycars as long as I've been alive. As far as I know, its always been "less than five years away" for the past 20 or so. He also really likes talking about his "highway in the sky", which is essentially... run of the mill avionics.

And really, given the number of accidents on the highway-on-the-ground where folks only have to worry about two dimensions, I'm glad he's been a failure thus far. At least accidents on the highway don't usually come flying into my house.

--
lds

Re:Nice. (4, Interesting)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692097)

And really, given the number of accidents on the highway-on-the-ground where folks only have to worry about two dimensions, I'm glad he's been a failure thus far.

On the other hand, if people had to go through as much training to get a driver's license as they do a pilot's license the roads would probably be a better place.

I was certified to fly gliders only after many hours of instruction that included emergency situations as well as learning how to give myself large safety margins. Just the thinking process of getting my pilot's license caused me to really evaluate my driving habits as well.

As long as the license to fly a Skycar didn't end up being some sort of quickie certification you might not see as many problems as you think. Most of the truly boneheaded won't make it far enough to get the license to fly. Then again, I had some great instruction from people who loved to fly and weren't just putting in their 9 to 5 time.

Re:Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692165)

And really, given the number of accidents on the highway-on-the-ground where folks only have to worry about two dimensions, I'm glad he's been a failure thus far.
On a typical two-lane road, you have a corridor around 12-15 feet wide to maneuver in; in the air, your maneuvering room extends several thousand feet over the entire surface of the earth. Do you really think that accidents are going to be a problem?

Re:Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692205)

I've seen people get into accidents in parking lots because they put their car in drive instead of park. Never underestimate the ability of people to screw up.

Re:Nice. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692253)

And really, given the number of accidents on the highway-on-the-ground where folks only have to worry about two dimensions

This is actually the strongest argument for going to aircars. Today, we funnel traffic into very narrow passages, where vehicles pass each other in opposite directions at very high speed, with nothing more than a few feet of separation and a couple of painted lines to prevent head-on collisions. The FAA considers it a near-collision when two aircraft pass within a thousand feet of each other. It's pretty rare to be a thousand feet away from the nearest car on a highway in the daytime, at least where I live.

If we took to the skies, 1) there's a lot more room, 2) the trip itself can take minutes instead of hours, and 3) concentration of population will be reduced, which contributes to 1).

When you account for the cost of building roads, as well as the fact that fatalities are routine for every major city rush-hour commute, air cars could actually end up saving us money. Four-lane highways can easily cost over a million dollars a mile. If we switched to air cars for people, and only used roads for freight, most of the interstate system could be two-lane roads.

-jcr

Re:Nice. // FAA cert (4, Funny)

cometman (688838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692035)

The Moller FAQ page says they expect it within 4 years.

Re:Nice. // FAA cert (4, Informative)

Joe Random (777564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692149)

The Moller FAQ page says they expect it within 4 years.
Five years ago, the FAQ said that it would be available in two years. From the Wayback Machine:

http://web.archive.org/web/20001110012400/http://w ww.moller.com/faq/#M400%20Skycar0 [archive.org]

In other words, take any deadline that Paul Moller gives you with a big ol' honkin' chunk of NaCl.

Re:Nice. // FAA cert, Don't count on it. (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692256)

A coworker purchased all the glossies and specs for "the peoples" flying car in 1993. Its design hasn't changed since then. I thought Mitsubishi ???? bought Moller out back then? Personally, I wouldn't take it around the block without a parachute.

Jim.
Having experienced a FAA cert to DO-178B level B, It would cost tens of millions and another 20 years to certify that deathtrap, If ever.

Fuel gauge? (1)

yroJJory (559141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692003)

I hope it has a good early-warning fuel gauge system so you don't plummet out of the sky when gas runs out!

Any hybrids coming?

Re:Fuel gauge? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692188)

I hope it has a good early-warning fuel gauge system so you don't plummet out of the sky when gas runs out!

According to TFA it has both a fuel warning system and two ballistic parachutes.

Re:Fuel gauge? (2, Interesting)

volfro (915297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692299)

Nah, no hybrids, I bet. His are rotary engines built to run off of pretty much anything--including alcohol and biofuel. I remember reading a Time Life thing about him in the eighties that said the engine could run off of peanut oil. And on the site, it mentions the idea of running off of vegetable oil with small conversion efforts.

So that means low to no emissions there. Supposedly.

Is this legal? (1, Insightful)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692006)

Is this even legal? Wouldn't one have to have a licnese to pilot these? OR would it just be like it was no big thing?

Re:Is this legal? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692041)

Is this even legal?

Sure it is. It's an experimental aircraft.

Wouldn't one have to have a licnese to pilot these?

Probably. Check with the FAA.

-jcr

Re:Is this legal? (5, Informative)

hughperkins (705005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692052)

From the website:

"M400 Skycar Deposit Information

"Deposit is refundable until after a successful transitioning flight has occurred. Thereafter deposits are refundable only if Final Delivery Price exceeds List Price (as adjusted for CPI-W) by 5%, OR Standard Equipment List has been shortened OR Guaranteed Performance Specifications are not met, OR FAA Certification Date of the M400 Skycar occurs after December 31, 2008 or a Purchase Agreement is executed prior to FAA certification. "

"Your required deposit amount is as follows:

"Delivery Position List Price
25-100 $995,000
101-200 $750,000
201-500 $500,000"

So, they're anticipating obtaining FAA approval by 2008. The price for a car depends on how long you're willing to wait. Starts off at one million, and drops to half a million if you're willing to wait till 200 have already been sold.

Hugh

One would assume... (2, Funny)

imag0 (605684) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692092)

One would assume if you can afford it, you're pretty much past the law to begin with, eh?

Re:Is this legal? (3, Informative)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692096)

From the Moller website: Moller is currently working with the FAA to obtain certification of the M400 Skycar under the "powered lift normal" category. /../ In addition, the FAA has established a "powered lift" pilot's license. This, together with a thorough familiarization, will be required to pilot a Skycar, primarily to ensure adequate flight management and navigational skills. So, to answer your question: they're working to legalize it, and you will need a licence to pilot one.

Something new... (3, Funny)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692011)

Imagine going to DMV for that...

Lucky-*ucker: Hi, I'd like to register my Moller Sky Car.
DMV drone: What year is your Buick Skylark?
Lucky-*ucker: No, my sky car. Sky CAR!

I can see the look on the driving tester's face at license renewal. $3.5 mil and flying, it gives new meaning to "Tax and Licensing".

Re:Something new... (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692163)

It will probably be easier to register than the Zeppelin NT offered a few years back.

So.. (1)

heavy snowfall (847023) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692012)

What does this say about the status of the project? Given up? Or ready to go with manufacturing new ones?

--
Use your bluetooth phone as a modem for Linux [arpx.net]

Re:So.. (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692030)

What does this say about the status of the project? Given up? Or ready to go with manufacturing new ones?
From TFA "Only 75 Neiman Marcus Special Editions will be produced and delivered in 2006." I was expecting a couple of prototypes, but 75! I'd say they're going onward full bore.

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692046)

That's 75 LEXI, err, Lexuses, err...

In any case, learn to read. And, your post was ASININE.

Re:So.. (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692050)

That's 75 LEXI, err, Lexuses, err...
I stand corrected. Thanks.

Re:So.. (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692048)

I was expecting a couple of prototypes, but 75! I'd say they're going onward full bore.

I'm very skeptical when it comes to Moller. The guy has been promising that he was five years away from shipping a product for at least 25 years. I hope I'm wrong, though.

-jcr

Re:So.. (1)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692057)

I believe the "75 special editions" thing refers to the Lexuses, not the Skycar. One Skycar, 75 Lexuses (Lexii?).

One day (1)

Dark_Oppressor (882770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692013)

I can't wait until the day I get my very own flying car. What I'd really love is a flying Delorean ^^

Re:One day (1)

mcbazza (848332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692231)

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.

Elton John ? (1)

Ripping Silk (582933) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692019)

OK, whos fantasy has Elton John singing..?

Re:Elton John ? (0, Troll)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692266)

whos fantasy has Elton John singing..?

The GNAA, of course! *ducks*

We should all pool our money and buy this. (4, Funny)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692023)

I'd donate a spot in my garage and you guys can come take it for a spin any time you're in town. :)

Re:We should all pool our money and buy this. (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692071)

Hey, and when I take off from in front of my garage every morning the neighbours better say goodbye to any stray balls, toys, wigs or pets they're not hanging on to.

Finished product? (4, Informative)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692026)

This car has been on an "almost ready for production" state since i have memory - i recall reading on Popular Science about it and how it would revolutionize transport when i was a kid! So, are they selling these days? The site's a bit vague about this... and the one mentioned in the article is a prototype - a working prototype, yes, but still.

Plain old false advertising (1)

Stormy Henderson (316646) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692028)

This is just an airplane. Nothing at all do with a car. Those three piddly wheels would fall off on the first pothole.

The only interesting thing about it is that it is VTOL (vertical take-off and landing).

Come on though imagine if these get cheaper (1)

Snatch422 (896695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692042)

How great would it be to fly 100 feet over the highway on your way to work going 300mph and watching all the traffic jams. The enjoyment from that would be almost too great. VTOL means you could use this thing anywhere even in a city. Flying around streets with skyscrapers in this would be intense too. I just hope they get more affordable but not too affordable because they will get massively regulated once that happens because too many flying cars will cause a good amount of accidents.

Re:Come on though imagine if these get cheaper (2, Interesting)

Kiffer (206134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692139)

this might sound like a stupid question ... but how slow can it go?

Re:Come on though imagine if these get cheaper (4, Insightful)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692203)

100 feet over the highway on your way to work going 300mph and you suddenly colide with a high-tension power-line because the FAA designates MAGL for powered flight to be 500 feet in almost all of the country (exceptions for takeoff/landing and some offshore corridors, and of course law enforcement.)

Fuel guzzling... (1)

NidStyles (794619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692045)

I wonder who the first self-indulgent bastard to buy one will be.

Re:Fuel guzzling... (1)

UniverseIsADoughnut (170909) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692082)

Paul Allen

Truly (1)

rmull (26174) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692051)

Gravity is a harsh mistress.

Re:Truly (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692100)

No gravity, no air. No air, no airplanes, no airships. I don't think we'll be free of gravity for awhile. Ironically it is gravity that makes flight possible.

KFG

Re:Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692108)

Ironically it is gravity that makes flight possible.

Like space flights?

Re:Truly (3, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692302)

Like space flights?

Like when you jump off the top of a skyscraper?

Space travel is not flight. The term is a misnomer born of inapplicable earth based intuitive concepts. Space is not, despite dictionary.com, a medium. The space shuttle only flies when it lands. In space it simply falls and has some inertial motion.

Going to Mars, or Pluto, is no different and unless you burn three axis thrusters the whole way the path taken is ballistic, because. . .space is not a gravity free zone.

The medium the thrusters work against are the spacecraft itself, not a medium the spacecraft is moving through.

As an aside, penguins are not flightless, they simply require a denser medium than air in which to fly.

KFG

Re:Truly (1)

BobaFett (93158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692148)

Why would you need a ship with airlift (i.e. wing) if there was no gravity? Just push off of the ground... Now coming back is where some preparation is required.

Re:Truly (0)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692327)

Why would you need a ship with airlift (i.e. wing) if there was no gravity?

Good question.

Now coming back is where some preparation is required.

Good answer. Think about the forces on an airplane when it executes a turn. Some of the "lift" is being directed tangent to the ground. See my comment about penguins above. Think about what that could mean to submersible vehicles.

KFG

This is the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692058)

of all the "where's my flying cars" jokes...

Torrent please (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692059)

Videos are slashdotted, a torrent of all the video's would be very welcomed.

Thank You.

Forget Skycars (5, Funny)

TheAdventurer (779556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692060)

Forget Sky Cars. My dad works at a company that makes Sky Buses. And you can ride anywhere in the USA for less than a thousand dollars. These Sky Buses have comfortable seating, attendants who give you food and spill drinks on you, and even a little TV you can watch with headphones.

Yep, Boeing makes these awesome Sky Buses with wheels and everything.

Re:Forget Skycars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692079)

Not anywhere in the US, only between specific locations to which you still need to get by normal means.

Re:Forget Skycars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692229)

You mean... like bus stops?

Unless we're talking the school bus, its very rare for someone to not have to travel to a bus stop. It may not be as far as an airport (depends on where you live) but your comment really doesn't mean anything.

Re:Forget Skycars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692088)

Yep, Boeing makes these awesome Sky Buses

Carerul, you don't want your dad's employer to get sued by their competitor.

http://www.airbus.com/en/ [airbus.com]

Comfortable Seating?! (1, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692120)

If you're a midget or an amputee maybe. The rest of us will be rubbing our hip bones against the arm rests unless we spring for first class. Admittedly the price of a skycar will cover a LOT of first class tickets but you still have to deal with airport security and the "random" cavity searches. Not to mention getting around once you reach your destination and the danger of your carrier going bankrupt while you're at your destination. Even if you had to pilot the SkyCar with a joystick that went up your ass (Yes, like the South Park episode) it'd STILL be better than putting up with the crap the airlines dish out.

Re:Comfortable Seating?! (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692185)

Huh, but the price of a first class ticket probably won't even cover a single Skycar ride. The fuel consumption on that thing must be completely off the wall - it looks like the aerodynamic equivalent of a gorgeous, curvy, futuristic-looking brick.

Re:Comfortable Seating?! (3, Funny)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692195)

My hip bones don't rub the armrests in coach. I'm also a healthy weight.

Re:Comfortable Seating?! (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692219)

Yes, but for ~$2.5M(US) you can have a Cessna Citation Mustang 6-person bizjet which is currently in shakedown testing and which will almost assuradly become certified before the skycar. Or if you are commuting by yourself or with only a few passengers there's the Dayjet Eclipse 500 which seats two pilots and 3 passengers for ~$1.3M which is also in shakedown. Basically the skycar is overpriced, underperforming, and overhyped. Basically there's a bunch of 3-6 seat bizjet's currently in testing or early production which cost less than the $3.5M pricetag of this thing, many are listed here [eclipseaviation.com] . Since it's a page from one of the competitors in the space take all claims about estimates with the appropriate amount of salt, but even when being estimated by a competitor all of their costs come in under $3M.

Re:Forget Skycars (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692197)

Yep, Boeing makes these awesome Sky Buses with wheels and everything.

I don't want an aeroplane. I want a flying car to park beside my horseless carriage.

Re:Forget Skycars (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692260)

Last time I checked the 777 wasn't VTOL.

Re:Forget Skycars (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692264)

Boeing makes these awesome Sky Buses with wheels and everything.

Yeah, they're great if I want to go to London or Singapore, but not terribly practical if I just want to go from Cupertino to Santa Cruz. That's about an hour in the car, on a very dangerous, crowded mountain road and it would be more like 15 minutes in the air.

-jcr

Test drive? (1)

Fastball (91927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692062)

Anyone know where I can go and kick the propellers on one of these? ;)

Re:Test drive? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692090)

Anyone know where I can go and kick the propellers on one of these?

Davis, California. Near Sacramento.

-jcr

Re:Test drive? (1)

werewolf1031 (869837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692102)

You mean "kick the turbofans". :)

Requisite "It's fake!" (5, Insightful)

Krid(O'Caign) (766854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692081)

It's unquestionably a heavier than air vehicle (Especially when full of people), so it can't generate lift from density differences. It doesn't have any significant wingspan, which means that it can't use bernoulli's principal to generate lift. Therefore, the only reasonable remaining possibility is that it must be creating a downward thrust equal to the mass*gravity of the vehicle. That's very, very bad for gas mileage, making the "28mpg" claim more than a little dubious. In theory, strapping four engines with those claimed power/consumption ratios to a compact car with no standard engine and the wheels in neutral should generate highway speeds at vastly higher MPG ratings.

Re:Requisite "It's fake!" (4, Informative)

ezweave (584517) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692143)

Yeah, many people have thought that the skycar has been an investment scam, and it probably is. Hey the SEC thinks so! [sec.gov]

Although I see that Bernoulli's principle strikes again! Alas, that is not really what generates lift (my modern Physics professor in college used to teach at the Air Force Academy and said they still teach that to pilots... ghastly). While there is a Bernoulli effect that influences lift, there is an assumption and crude explanation (hey the air flows above and below the wing have to meet up).

Many readers new to this topic may be looking for the explanation that is commonly put forward in many mainstream books, and even scientific exhibitions, that touch on flight and aerodynamic principles; namely, that due to the greater curvature (and hence longer path) of the upper surface of an aerofoil, the air going over the top must go faster in order to "catch up" with the air flowing around the bottom (and hence due to its faster speed its pressure is lower, etc). Despite the fact that this "explanation" is probably the most common of all, it must be made clear that it is utterly false.
here [wikipedia.org]

Of course Bernoulli was a natural philosopher which explains why this was easily accepted (thanks Neal Stephenson, for fictionalizing that part of history).

Scientific arguments aside, the Moller sky car [wikipedia.org] graced the pages of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science when I was a kid. No one in their right mind would buy it, it is a silly impractical (not to mention unsafe) idea. Do you know how much work it takes to get a pilot's license? Or instrument rated? Time and $$$$. That is why it is a dumb idea. But hey, rich old men can dream, can't they?

Re:Requisite "It's fake!" (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692211)

Do you know how much work it takes to get a pilot's license? Or instrument rated? Time and $$$$.

wouldnt rich old men have both of those?

Re:Requisite "It's fake!" (1)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692216)

Do you know how much work it takes to get a pilot's license? Or instrument rated? Time and $$$$. That is why it is a dumb idea. Dude, it's cheaper than buying a smallbiz jet + small helicopter and paying for aircrews for them both. This thing claims to go quite a bit faster than the typical helo, and besides helicopters there aren't a whole lot of options for civilian VTOL. To get 300+ MPH flight and VTOL the price of training will be the least of your worries. Think about what you'll be saving when you don't have to maintain two diffrent types of aircraft, or their crews.

Re:Requisite "It's fake!" (1)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692248)

The original Skycar was a disk, held aloft by pure exhaust. I'm not sure how he made the jump to the current design, the aerodynamics (if any) are completely different.

http://www.moller.com/skycar/m200x/ [moller.com]

Mileage claim isn't fake... (1)

Mudcathi (584851) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692156)

... it's just all downhill and downwind, with the engine idling :)

Re:Mileage claim isn't fake... (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692208)

.. it's just all downhill and downwind, with the engine idling :)

In terms of a "sky car", wouldn't the technical description for that be "falling from the sky?"

Which, you know, makes sense. It can fall from the sky from one mile up and the idling engine only uses 1/28th of a gallon of gas.

Re:Requisite "It's fake!" (2, Insightful)

Floody (153869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692172)

It's unquestionably a heavier than air vehicle (Especially when full of people), so it can't generate lift from density differences. It doesn't have any significant wingspan, which means that it can't use bernoulli's principal to generate lift. Therefore, the only reasonable remaining possibility is that it must be creating a downward thrust equal to the mass*gravity of the vehicle. That's very, very bad for gas mileage, making the "28mpg" claim more than a little dubious. In theory, strapping four engines with those claimed power/consumption ratios to a compact car with no standard engine and the wheels in neutral should generate highway speeds at vastly higher MPG ratings.


Unfortunately for your pet theory, the Bernoulli Principal has very little to do with standard airfoil generated lift; you've been incorrectly educated (as have many). The principal responsible is the Coanda effect, and the humorous bit is that it actually causes exactly what you deride as an extremely inefficent method of generating lift (although I will agree, 28mpg seem a tad ridiculous for any aircraft). To quickly understand the Bernoulli fallacy, puzzle over this one question: How does an inverted aircraft remain both aerodynamically stable (relatively) and continue to maintain or increase altitude when the very airfoil shape that causes the Bernoulli effect is completely upside-down?

the Crackpots called, they want their idea back (1)

Swampfeet (758961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692263)



Next thing you'll be telling me is that Gravity is a government conspiracy.

Most airplanes with asymmetric airfoils do not usually remain inverted for long, but can be flown inverted with lots of negative alpha and a lot of power applied (provided the plane has top tank feeds and a pressure fueled carburetor or fuel injection), or through maneuvers where there is always positive G (like a barrel roll).

If you watch a non-aerobatic airplane do a simple aileron roll at an airshow, you'll notice the first thing the pilot does is to pull the nose up a bit into a climb right before executing the roll, because as soon as the roll angle gets past 90 degrees, the vertical component of lift goes to zero, and the plane sinks until the roll passes the 270 degree point. Assuming no elevator input during the roll, of course.

Most every specialized aerobatic airplane ever built (like the Extra 300) has what's called a 'symmetrical airfoil' which in cross section has no difference in its shape whether inverted or right side up. Bernoulli's theorem applies no matter what attitude an airfoil is in - you generate lift (and induced drag) in proportion to AOA.

An asymmetric airfoil (what you find on your 172's, Lears, 737's) is just not nearly as efficient when inverted as a symmetric one is.

In fact, there really is no "inverted" for a symmetric airfoil at all, only the human being carried by it regards such conventions.

All that said, this Moller is indeed a complete charlatan; I've been seeing his bullshit in the backs of magazines for around 25 years, at least.

You can't fly at speeds over 250 knots around cities anyway, so the 350 figure is meaningless for intracity commuting.

Ducted fans (3, Interesting)

XNormal (8617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692191)

During forward flight the vehicle generates a significant part of its lift using airfoils. These airfoils are small, but at cruising speed they are up to the task. Remember that normal aircraft use wings sized for low-speed takeoff and landing, not for cruising speed. Low-speed hovering will naturally consume much more fuel but it's only for a short time at takeoff and landing.

Ducted fan vehicles are feasible and should theoretically be capable of doing all Dr Moller claims they can do. It's a different question whether Moller's company can achieve it. People tend to become skeptical after decades of of promises...

As an Elton fan ... (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692093)

I'd be happy with $1.5 million! (But I'd love the skycar too...)

not really flown yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692095)

This thing hasn't really flown yet, just hovered a couple meters above ground.
So the prototype is not usable, and it doesn't even have historic value yet.
I think Moller needs cash.

    - Anonycous Moward

Cute, but it'll never be practical. (2, Interesting)

OwP_Fabricated (717195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692099)

Well, never in terms of our lifetimes and probably a couple more lifetimes after that.

For flying cars to ever work you'd need insane amounts of safety systems for every kind of failure. We're talking backup systems for the backup systems that backup the backup systems.

You'd also need central traffic network computers to control them, because there's no way in hell the vast majority of the population could fly something at 100MPH with any safety. You think a fender bender is bad? Wait until it also makes you fall 200 feet out of the sky.

And don't try to imagine the death and devestation the first time the traffic system fails (insert "lol crash" jokes here).

Of course, anyone can figure all this out pretty easily. I'm being over-critical.

Re:Cute, but it'll never be practical. (3, Interesting)

BrokenStructure (793578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692123)

had you taken the time to check out the web-site you may have read that there are 3 back-up electronics systems and 8 engines (2 per propellor). Any one could fail and the craft would still be able to fly and land safely (according to the web-site). I think if we could convert the lexus' detection system that slows the car down or speeds it up to compensate for traffic when cruise control is engaged, only for collision detection, this thing might be relatively idiot proof.

How about flying underwater? (1)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692111)

You can get your own personal submarine for only $845,000 [alaska-freegold.com]

Might be handy with the melting ice and all.

Typically vague Muller (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692113)

http://www.moller.com/news/pressrelease/SkycarInNM arcus2005.html [moller.com]

We have offered the prototype "for sale" in the catalog for $3.5 million on the condition that it be delivered after its inaugural piloted test flight scheduled for later this year or early 2006. Well, except that he notes elsewhere they really are "working towards" that day, and have NFI when it will actually happen.

Yep, it's "for sale"! Oh, but not the one in the photo! That's the shiny production version see.

You get the far uglier testing one shown here...

http://www.moller.com/skycar/ [moller.com] ... after they've finished with it. So the used up and probably modified-badly-between-tests, not-legal-to-fly, hopefully-not-crashed, uglier, prototype is your "for sale" "when it's done" (and we all know how well that's worked for Nukem Forever). For ONLY $3.5 million!

Yes, typical Muller all the way! What a visionary!

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692133)

hahaha.

Yep, that pretty much describes the flakey bastard

Well cripes ... lemme see here ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692128)

>and one of the items up for purchase is the prototype M400 Skycar from Moller >International (for only $3.5 million US). ... I'll just dig into petty cash to scoop that right up!

Ain't there a museum for this kind of boondoggle?

Friends.... (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692140)

...Don't let friends fly drunk.

But (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692150)

can it run Linux?

The difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692168)

Whats the difference between this "Sky-Car" and a helicopter, i don't think this is really revolutionary.

Moller? Snake oil salesman (0, Redundant)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692170)

From your garage to your destination, the M400 Skycar can cruise comfortably at 350+ MPH and achieve up to 28 miles per gallon.

Bullshit. The Moller Sky Car has been 'five years away' for as long as I've been alive. The math simply doesn't compute either - if you look at his engine specs, he'd need BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption) that is impossible with any known technology - let alone the kind of engines he's using.

Moller is merely a successful snake oil salesman who's managed to con investors for years.

They will Always be Toys of the Rich. (1)

IAMTHEMEDIA (869196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692174)

Maybe not totally but definately for the forseeable future. I have been tracking this company and founder since I was a kid no older then 9 watching the discovery channel. Moller seems like a respectable guy but come on 40 years? It took the wright brothers no more then 5. Whatever happened to the claim it ran on gasoline? I doubt this particular aircraft will achieve benchmark sucess, but I think that theres a feasibility if a major corperation actively takes involvement in this field of engineering. But thats just my two cents. You may resume the cubicle grazing.

cool (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692198)

Neiman Marcus has just unveiled its 2005 Christmas Catalog of Fantasy Gifts last Tuesday

Hmmmm... any magic kingdoms for $1mil in there?

Free cookie recipe! (1)

Joel Rowbottom (89350) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692199)

Do you get free cookies with it, or maybe even the recipe? ;)

Evolutionary path to independence (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692218)

"No matter how you look at it the automobile is only an interim step on our evolutionary path to independence from gravity."

This implies that the car is a step better than walking in handling gravity. Unfortunately the average car is only pretty good at plummeting. The author would be better off staying away from Dukes of Hazard series and movies in my opinion.

Picking up hookers with Sky Car :D (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692223)

Just imagine!
Picking up hookers would be much more FUN!
hmmmm, well, I meant in GTA actually [p2pnet.net] :D

Dude, where's my flying car? (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692230)

I can forsee a sequel to a certain movie...

but.... (3, Interesting)

plonk420 (750939) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692232)

but we [imsproductions.com] made a cooler commercial [imsproductions.com] glorious *cough* (but streamable) quicktime [imsproductions.com] or window$ media video [imsproductions.com]

*sighs* (1)

plonk420 (750939) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692244)

and i don't understand /. posting markup to save my butt, nor know how to hit the preview button X)

Does anyone read (5, Informative)

bad_bwoy (919423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692242)

All these questions were answered in the provided link. Just go to the FAQ section.

4.22. How can I obtain a video of the M400 Skycar?

Since the M400 has not yet been flown, we do not have available video footage. You can however, obtain a Media Kit which includes a compilation video of interviews with Dr. Moller, a BETA master of our most recent flight test featuring the M200X (1990) and informational brochures on Skycar and Rotapower Engines for $50 plus shipping. Please see our Sales page to order.

4.21. Will I need a license to pilot an M400 Skycar?

Currently the Skycar is categorized as a "powered-lift normal" aircraft by the FAA. This means that, yes, you will require a "powered-lift normal" category pilot's license to operate a Skycar. However, it is our intention that the volantor will eventually evolve into a completely automated form of transportation making you a passenger - not a pilot/driver. At that point, no pilot's license would be required as long as you operate within this control network.

Revenge of the Nerds? (1)

J. Random Luser (824671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692243)

Way to go! Neiman Marcus /.ed
Opening Catalog...Opening Catalog...

Are we ready for these types of technologies? (2)

JimBrownie (898828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692247)

Hello to everyone is slashdot, this is my first post. I just wonder will society ever be ready for forms of technology that require more than "point and click". I mean these days, with all teh science and technology out there, still wouldn't know how to set the time in a VCR. With technilogical progression, shouldn't our grasp of these technologies rise as well. Computers were suppose to make time for more work, more discovery, not for more leisure. If we continue to use technology as a crutch and not as a tool, regression is inevitable. We've all seen the Sci-Fi interpretation, civilizations lost due to ignorance and sloth. Just food for thought i guess i'll stop now lol

Dreamboat Limited-Edition Levitating Sculpture (1)

J. Random Luser (824671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692254)

Also from Neiman Marcus' Xmas Catalog. A 6 foot polished aluminum canoe/egg shaped object floats by mag-lev above a polished mahogany plinth. Slightly less practical than the air-car, but proven technology, a snip at $90k, and cheaper to run I guess...

Gratuitous... (0, Redundant)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692290)

Road? Where we're going, we don't NEED roads.

Moller is a nut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692301)

Ask anyone from Davis, CA. He is a quack, not an aeronautical engineer. He got rich with a clever engine silencer design (Supertrapp) but his aviation credentials are non-existent. Having spent over 10 years around the Davis airport (unlike him, I am a pilot) I never saw him and nobody there has ever seen him around.

He is a con, and has been peddling the same gee-whiz, Buck Rogers techno-utopia for (too) many years.

What I'd really like to see is this guy test his 'sky car'. It might have a little trouble with powered takeoff, but thats ok, I'm sure we can find someone to launch him and his contraption from another airplane!

Moller: Almond butter is the key to life extension (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13692318)

He also thinks that almond butter is the key to life extension. Eccentric would be an understatement here. http://www.moller.com/about/history/lifeext/ [moller.com]

To all the nay sayers... (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13692315)

... this is in a catalog of fantasy gifts. Who said it was illegal to hawk a $3.5 million fantasy?
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