There must be something in the water in England. Earlier this year we reported on a Welshman who took his Land Rover from England to America . Now we have a Brit who will be taking his flying dune buggy from England to the Sahara Desert. Gilo Cardozo is a paramotor manufacturer whose Wiltshire-based company Parajet built the paramotor that the adventurer Bear Grylls used to fly near Everest last year. Normally paramotors work by a person using a parachute while having a giant fan strapped to their back. The fan provides forward propulsion while helping to give lift to the parachute during take off. Cardozo first had the idea to build the flying dune-buggy four years ago.
"I started making a paramotor on wheels that you sit on and take off and it suddenly occurred to me, ‘Why not just have a car that does everything?’” recalls Cardozo. “I’ve been dreaming about making flying cars since I was a boy,thinking about all the ways it could be done and seeing how all the other people in the world have done it wrong. No one’s ever made one that really does work that you can go out and buy. But here’s the ultimate solution: it’s cheap, it’s safe, it works, all the technology’s already there. So I pushed ahead and thought, ‘We’ve got to do it’.”
The Sky car is quite impressive on the ground. It is powered by a modified Yamaha R1 motor, made to run on bioethanol, creating 140 hp with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox from a snowmobile. The power plant accelerates the car from 0-60 in 4.5 sec and has a top speed of 112 mph. The car also features four-wheel independent suspension, rear-wheel drive, and will travel 248 miles to a tank of fuel.
When the car takes off power is taken away from the rear wheels and switched to the fan at the back. while in the air the SkyCar will travel 80 mph and up to 15,000 ft, with a cruising altitude of 2000-3000 ft. Potential buyers won’t need a private pilot’s license to fly a Skycar, just one day’s tuition and a powered parachute license.
The journey is set to begin in January 2009 and take 40 days. Until it lands in Timbuktu though, it still remains an attempt to achieve the holy grail of inventors everywhere.