Thursday, May 1, 2008

Moller M400 Skycar

So much of the automotive industry runs on the fumes generated by hype; how much air can you blow? And it’s very easy, even for jaded industry veterans, to fall for it, generally because you want to believe. One look at the 4-passenger Moller M400 Skycar and we don’t much care who you are, this is a dynamo—hustler and hooker, the collective futurecars dream.

Then we wake. And it’s a mess. Of the manufacturer’s claims quoted above, namely that the M400 is “feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle”, the one that is hardest to accept—and that almost ruins the dream for us—is the VTOL aspect. This technology requires an extraordinary amount of force and thrust. The manufacture claims it can achieve this with “a patented thrust deflection vane system that redirects thrust.” Could be, but to get an idea of how successful the far-better-funded US Army has been with VTOL, read about the V-22 Osprey. Or better yet, read about the RAF’s Harrier Jump Jet, with which the M400 claims some technological affinity.

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