With their combined backgrounds in aeronautics, computer technology and vehicle control systems, they make the perfect team to put together what is known as the Milner AirCar.
The Air Car was unveiled at this year’s New York Auto Show and generated a great deal of interest in the automotive community, some calling it a revolution and others commenting that it looked like a bad DIY project.
Whatever the sentiments, the AirCar certainly is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
So how does it work?
Well, described as a “road-able aircraft”, it’s built to drive and fly: you drive it as you would a normal car, and once you get to an airport close by, you convert it to a plane and off you go.
You fly to the airport close to where you need to be and then drive it to your destination. The wingspan of the Air Car is 28 feet and it weighs in at 3000 pounds. On the ground the craft is driven by a 40HP engine, and in the air it gets going via two 160HP motors that the Milners say will get it up a top speed of about 200mph in the air.
According to Chris and James, the AirCar will its driver/pilot up to 1000 miles before having to refuel.
They say that on the ground, the Air Car will be about the size of a Toyota Corolla, but judging from the size of the thing once the wings are folded away, it certainly looks as though you’ll have to remodel your garage to make it fit. It sounds like there’s a lot of manual labor involved in getting it from car mode to plane mode too.
As a car, it’s a four-seater with four doors rolling on non-retractable wheels. You steer with a steering wheel and the 40HP engine will give you a top speed of about 85mph. To use as a plane, reveal the two propeller engines by folding wings out from the rear and the smaller canards from the front of the craft.
You use the same steering wheel to steer the plane. According to the Milners, the weight of the craft will shift a little off the rear wheels to assist with ground clearance.
The concept revealed at the New York Auto Show was certainly built to drive, but the Milners are still looking for an engineering company to come on board and assist with aeronautics aspect of the AirCar. Eventually they’d like to get it certified for production and it’ll be retailing for around $450 000 when it hits the streets – and the airspace.
It’s not exactly what we’ve been led to believe the future of cars and motoring will be, what with the slew of eco-friendly vehicles set for production in the next three or four years. We’ll have to see if this one ever takes off.