Questions for Creating the Skycar
On March 15, 2007 Dr. Paul Moller contributed the following questions and answers to QuestionsForLiving®.
1. What made me want to create the Skycar?
When I was very young I lived in a rural part of Canada. I was inspired by the mobility of the hummingbird and have attempted ever since to personally experience a similar degree of three dimensional freedom.
2. What are my biggest technical challenges?
The most technically challenging elements of the Skycar development were the engines and the artificial stability system. I had to develop my own very powerful lightweight engines and also create computerized stabilizing systems that responded much faster than anything then on the market.
3. What is my biggest business challenge?
The biggest business challenge was raising the money to enable me to address these two technical challenges.
4. What is it like to fly the Skycar?
Flying the Skycar is as close as one is likely to get to the feeling of riding on a magic carpet. No vibration, great visibility, hovering in space all create that hummingbird sensation I was looking for.
5. Is it safe?
Safety was the most important criteria in my design and really drove the final product into its present form. The goal was to create an aircraft that could tolerate the failure of any component. This led to multiple independent engines and multiple independent stabilizing computers.
6. How much does it cost?
The Skycar is potentially very inexpensive. Each engine has only two relatively low cost moving parts and computer power today is inherently inexpensive. Volume production could make the Skycar less expensive than the automobile. It is certainly far less complicated.
7. When can I bring them to market?
The availablility of the Skycar in significant numbers in a form usable by the general public is really dependent on national priorities. The infrastructure needs to be in place so that for general commuting the Skycar is being flown by an integrating set of virtual highways. Those onboard will be reading, sleeping, working or playing on the computer. Your only participation is selecting your destination.
8. What made me willing to persevere in this effort to build a Skycar for nearly 55 years?
There is no simple answer to what can motivate one to direct the majority of his life to a single goal. Personally I have always tried to finish what I started. In this case I naively underestimated the task but have no regrets.
Dr. Moller's contact information:
1222 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95618, USA
Phone: (530) 756-5086
About Paul Moller
Dr. Moller created the Skycar and founded Moller International. He is President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He holds a D.A.M. (Diploma Aircraft Maintenance) PITA, 1957; D.A.E. (Diploma Aeronautical Engineering) PITA 1958; Master of Engineering, McGill University, 1961; Ph.D. in Aerodynamics, McGill University, 1963. Dr. Moller was a professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California at Davis from 1963 to 1975 where he developed the Aeronautical Engineering program. In 1972 he founded SuperTrapp Industries and was also Chief Executive Officer of that subsidiary until it was sold in 1988. He also organized and led the group which developed the Davis Research Park Complex between 1975 and 1983.