Letters Flying Cars? Flying pigs are more likely, according to readers of our report Flying Car more economical than SUV.
David Barnhart doesn't believe either the economics or the physics.
A little research would reveal that Moller has been scamming the press, investors, and the taxpayer for 40 years. Here are some back-of-the envelope calculations I recorded from a conversation with colleagues a few years ago regarding the SkyCar:
Moller says the M400 gross weight is 2400 pounds. That means 600 pounds thrust in hover mode from each duct. That is air blasting down in a square 19 inches on each side (my estimate from the photos and drawings). This would require an air velocity of about 320 fps or about 0.3 mach. The power required for that, given a 90 % fan efficiency, is about 387 horsepower each duct. That is about 1550 hp total. That is a bit more that what Moller says (645hp).
An internal combustion engine will produce 14-15hp per gallon of fuel per hour (Wankel engines are a little worse, but we'll go with this figure.) Even if we use Moller's 645hp figure, that's 43 gallons per hour. And if we use his max range cruise speed figure of 300mph, that's more like 7 miles per gallon, not 20. And I've only scratched the surface.
The only truly amazing thing is that the press seams to swallow his bait every single time he presents it.
You didn't do your homework on Moller. See our comments on this, here.[It's worth reading about the DiscoJet, to be sure - ed]
Read his brochure from 1974 ("flying car, real soon now") and the SEC complaint against him (it doesn't work, he sold unregistered securities, made false and misleading statements, raised $5.1 million selling stock illegally on the Internet).
Well, on a subsequent visit to the stand we did see a video of a tethered SkyCar hovering precariously at an altitude of about 15 feet. Will it go any higher? ®