Flying cars are coming closer to reality, and you can be a part of making it happen*!

* Kind of. Maybe.

A team from France has designed an ingenious flying car called the Skylys, and it’s seeking €2,250,000 (about $3.1 million) worth of funding on Indiegogo. But Mix Aerospace doesn’t even have a scaled-down Skylys model or prototype yet — the funding is explicitly for moving the team to Silicon Valley and turning a four-year self-funded research project into a product company.

You’ve heard about long time frames for crowdfunded hardware projects? The best-case scenario is to have the first Skylys in production in 2018.

There is plenty of flying car competition. Terrafugia’s Transition will have folding wings and is supposed to ship in 2016, Pal-V says its three-wheel vehicle is the first legal flying car in the world, and the Slovakian Aeromobil team released test-flight video last fall.

The Skylys is different because it’s more like a helicopter than a plane. As designed today, it has removable wings, it can take off vertically and it also has wheels.

“The problem with the flying car today today is either it’s too bulky — it’s a plane with wheels, not really a flying car — or, you have to fold the wings,” said co-founder Gary Chorostecki, speaking through a translator. “And since it’s a plane, you have to have a pilot license.”

Plus, Chorostecki said, the Skylys will be electric and it will be stylish. The Mix Aerospace team includes aerospace engineers and project managers from Thales Avionics and Dassault Aviation as well as an Apple designer.

It’s hard to imagine Indiegogo backers getting particularly excited about paying to move people from France to Silicon Valley to work on a project with such a long time horizon. But Chorostecki was unfazed by that line of questioning.

“The aim of the game at Indiegogo is to get our name out there,” he said. “We have the technology, patents and people behind us.”

The Flower Photographer
The Flower Photographer

You have much more expertise than I do, Jim, and I respect that. However, I can see the applicability in limited circumstances in areas outside of cities for these combos (esp. if we ever have sources of fuel other than liquid). Although I'm in Silicon Valley for a few more years, I'm from a very rural area on the North Coast of California where I could see these being used. In areas with hundreds or thousands of miles of mostly open area, except for occasional power lines (easily navigated), these may actually have a use in the future, but these may be ahead of their time. I agree with use in cities, however, and feel the same with regard to commercial drones from every pizza joint, restaurant, food store, etc.

Jim Curtis
Jim Curtis

All of the proposed flying cars are "pie in the sky" dreams. As a flight instructor, I know flying cars are fantasy land ideas. Learn to fly a plane to see how difficult it would be to have "flying cars" randomly zipping about cities while avoiding each other, fixed objects like buildings, wires you can't see, and all the other flying cars that can be anywhere in the sky. Bird strikes are one thing (downed a jet flown by a professional pilot in New York); car-plane to car-plane collisions would scatter debris, some flammable, across the landscape. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), as proposed by Amazon, are potentially dangerous enough. If you want to fly from point A to point B, get a pilot's license, or book a flight on a commercial airline. BTW - flying cars don't save money! Maintenance cost alone far exceeds that paid for cars. And they probably don't save much time unless you're flying cross-country where planning and pre-flight inspection time isn't significant compared to flight time. Pilots don't just jump in their planes and take off. They spend significant time studying the weather and inspecting their planes to make sure they can safely get from point A to point B. Even then they crash from time to time.


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