Remember all of those futuristic television shows like the Jetsons that promised us amazing technological possibilities like the flying car? Well, as it turns out, the reality of the flying car isn’t as far-off and space-aged as it seems. In fact, it kind of already exists. The Parajet SkyRunner is an all-terrain vehicle, in that it can also achieve lift-off and cruise around the skies. Yep, it’s a literal flying car. So how exactly does this thing work and how can you get one, you ask? No, you don’t have to be an automotive technician to understand this stuff, and you won’t have to take up an extremely odd auto mechanic apprenticeshipto see one, but the car is still shrouded in a bit of mystery.
A Flying What?
The SkyRunner is a complicated little beast. Technically an all-terrain vehicle, it’s the world’s first road-legal ATV that also doubles as a flying car. Let that sink in a bit. Now how exactly does this vehicle achieve flight?
The SkyRunner uses what the company calls “the latest reflex paraglider wing technology.” It’s essentially a bigger, more hardcore version of a paraglider with an impressively large propeller on the back. The wing allows intrepid drivers –or pilots, as it were – to control the pitch and roll of the vehicle, and boasts an impressively tight steering system. In the unlikely event that there’s a failure of the propeller, the craft will simply float down to safety using the wing. If the wing fails, there’s an emergency ballistic chute that will be deployed.
Check it out in action here:
In addition to its flight mode, the Skyrunner is actually an exceptionally well-rounded all-terrain vehicle, great for cruising backwoods trails or flying over sand dunes. The first version of the airborne ATV made an inaugural trip from London all the way to Timbuktu – a journey of over 6,000 km – a journey that provided valuable information for the creators to improve it, eventually resulting in the new 2014 “MK3” model.
Under the Hood
The SkyRunner’s engine is an advanced 1.0-litre “EcoBoost” engine. It uses state of the art technology to provide the excellent fuel economy and torque of a diesel engine, with a compact size and fewer emissions. The SkyRunner’s engine emits a low 114g/km of emissions and gets an average of 56.5 mpg in fuel economy.
How Do I Get One?
Yep, this is the question on everybody’s mind, and it might surprise you that it’s actually not that hard or expensive to own one. It’s not quite market ready yet, and the company will be selling them in limited amounts, but the SkyRunner retails for around $119,000 USD, and is expected to drop early next year. However, you will need a sport pilot’s license to operate in all of its flying car glory, so keep that in mind!
In all honesty though, to be cruising around the beautiful blue skies in your own private flying car, $119,000 isn’t that much to ask. We’ll see if it’s worth the hype when it hits the market next year, but until then, we dream of auto careers in the flying car business.