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Moller International Auctions its Flying Car for $5 Million

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【Summary】For people interested in owning one of the first flying cars to ever exist, it’s important to highlight that it’s not actually legal to operate the unit. That’s because the vessel lacks flight certification from the FAA.

Michael Cheng    Jul 12, 2017 9:45 AM PT
Moller International Auctions its Flying Car for $5 Million

Fans of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science have been ogling over flying car concepts for almost two decades. A prototype that was covered closely by the two publications during the 90s was the Moller M400 Skycar – a VTOL powered aircraft, designed for personal transportation.

Moller International, a California-based aviation technology company, is responsible for the creation of the flying car prototype. Unfortunately, the business was unable to move forward with its project due to lack of funding. As a result, developers were forced to stop working on the vessel, which is now being auctioned on eBay for a whopping $5 million.

Legal to Own, Illegal to Fly

For people interested in owning one of the first flying cars to ever exist, it's important to highlight that it's not actually legal to operate the unit. That's because the vessel lacks flight certification from the FAA. The only way one could fly the vehicle is by completing the purchase and working with the company to meet FAA standards. The process of meeting aviation regulations is not a straightforward process. The M400 Skycar likely needs major engine upgrades, as well as participation in pilot programs to pass safety standards. Moller International already spent more than $150 million on developing the unit.

As for its current capabilities, the flying car has only been able to take off 15 feet from the ground. The business recommends placing the unit in a museum or for safekeeping in a collector's vault.

"We are selling the M400 Skycar to fund our new and ongoing projects," explained Moller's marketing director Jack Stewart. "Our next-generation Skycar will use more efficient, and just better all-the-way-around hybrid-powered, rotary engines ... We are also working on another unrelated project, which may make significant news soon."

Other VTOL Vessels and Challenges

This isn't the first time Moller International resorted to auctioning off its prototypes. Other attempts related to its previous projects were unsuccessful, but necessary in order to ease financial difficulties.

Impressively, the business has a wide range of VTOL aircrafts for different applications. The Neuera is a flying saucer type of unit that can hover above any surface, from land and sand to snow and water. It utilizes powerful duct fans for lift and stability, while operating on gasoline. Moreover, the vessel features a range of 100 miles and a max speed of 100 mph. With over 200 test flights completed, it is capable of transporting payloads up to 350 lbs.   

"Many of you have expressed concern regarding our slow progress towards the first tether-free out of ground effect flight of the Neuera 200. This has been primarily due to limited funds. It is estimated that final assembly including participation by a designated FAA inspector could cost up to $500,000," said the business in its May 2017 newsletter.

The company is also working on a rescue vessel for emergency services. Called Firefly, the unit is designed to usher workers safely between elevated structures. At the moment, it is unclear how the business is moving forward with the development of its products. 

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