You could be flying to and from work within the next two years. US company Krossblade has unveiled the SkyCruiser, a part car, part helicopter, part aeroplane contraption that is set to go on sale in 2018.
Krossblade Aerospace Systems’ goal is to “make rapid, clean and safe personal aerial transport available to more people”. It wants to achieve this with the vertical take off and landing (VTOL) SkyCruiser, which will cost around US$300,000 if produced in large enough quantities.
What separates the Krossblade SkyCruiser from the rest of the pack is its alleged range. It can go 1,006 miles before needing to fill up, at speeds approaching 300mph, making it capable of travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco in one hour and ten minutes.
In aeroplane mode the top speed is 300mph. Power comes from a hybrid powertrain that develops 400hp from a combustion engine and 320hp from electric motors used for the vertical take off and landing. Fuel economy is 16mpg.
The reason for electric motors for take off and landing, Krossblade co-founder and CEO Daniel Lubrich explained, is to spare people a great deal of noise and emissions at a local level. Lubrich was keen to stress the battery power is not for sustained flight, but can kick in if the wankel engine fails.
Once at your destination, four extra rotors fold out (making a total of eight), allowing it to land and take off vertically like a helicopter. No need for a runway here.
On terra firma the wings and rotors fold away so you can drive the remaining part of your journey without slicing other road users in half. Wheel-mounted electric motors zip you along at speeds up to 75mph and from 0 to 62mph in 7.5 seconds.
Up to five passengers can fit into the SkyCruiser, along with luggage. So, in theory, a family summer holiday is viable – if you are happy packing a little lighter than usual.
Lubrich told Recombu Cars the plan is to have a prototype ready in 2016 and a further two years for certification, at which point it will be available to buy.
A fully working, albeit drone-sized, prototype known as SkyProwler is already capable of flight, as you can see in the following video.
The Krossblade SkyCruiser will go up against other flying cars, including the Moller M400 Skycar (seen on the gadget website Firefox), Aeromobil 2.5 and Terrafugia TF-X, all of which are set to be equally wallet-destroying.