In 45 years, Neil Loton has been a paratrooper, salesman, conqueror of Everest, polar explorer, CEO of a construction company and pilot of the world's first publicly available flying machine.
Flying car is not a new idea in principle: they were invented simultaneously with aeroplanes. And almost always it turned out to be an airplane, which, if you want, can be adapted for short throws on the ground (like this, for example. Or this one).
A device called Parajet Skycar in this sense is rather an exception. Firstly, it resembles not a hybrid of Ferrari and Cessna, but rather an ATV with a propeller (technically correct word, however, not "ATV", but "buggy"). Secondly, it has no wings: it takes off from the run (200 meters of the most ordinary road is quite enough), and in the air held by a parachute (the optimal height of the flight - 915 m, the maximum - 4.5 km; speed - up to 110 km per hour). And thirdly, before the launch of mass production for him came up with a dashing test: sent on their own from London to Timbuktu.
The man who came up with all this - and the propeller, and the parachute, and the route - his name is Giles Cardozo, he is 29 years old, and he designs aircraft. Paramotors, for example, capable of flying over Everest like nothing ever happened.
The flying car is his old, childhood dream.
The man who got behind the wheel, his name is Neil Loton.
He is not used to risky ideas: from 19 years Loton served in the British airborne troops (the army was his childhood dream - just like flying cars at Cardozo). Then he climbed seven major peaks of the planet, and on Everest landed in the worst snowstorm in a hundred years. And also made a luge trip to the North Pole, participated in an expedition to the South, toured Britain on an aquabike, and the Sahara - on a motorcycle. In between the mountain adventures and flight courses, the former captain of the Airborne Forces was engaged in the most prosaic things: five years he traded in the most boring office goods, then became CEO of the construction firm (the main achievement - the contract for the construction of the plant and office of "Rolls-Royce"), got rich. "But," says Loton, "as long as I have the physical ability, I'm going to continue to participate in expeditions. The people I look up to are doing it at the age of seventy or even eighty. Why wouldn't I live like that?"
Skycar he developed, in fact, together with Cardozo (it took about a year and a half for everything), and he clearly had his hand in composing the route.
"A week before us, several tourists had been kidnapped in this area. "At one of the village checkpoints, 14 policemen were shot and killed. There was talk that al-Qaeda was operating there, so there was enough to worry about - 13 people besides me participated in the expedition" - technicians, experts, cameramen. "All along the way, we were on our own. Of course, we didn't have any weapons on us, because we had to cross borders all the time. I was ready for a hand-to-hand fight, but fortunately it had not come to that. And the car behaved fantastically, there were no serious problems with it. By the end of the journey, though, I realised I had spent all nine of my lives at once," said the Skykeeper pilot when he returned from Timbuktu. The case was in February 2009.
In the summer of 2009, Loton is going to cross the Atlantic on a flying yacht.
Meanwhile, Cardozo will be busy improving the machine (according to Loton, "nothing serious - so, a couple of engineering moments, and even the parachute would be good to strengthen slightly"). In 2010, the flying car is going to be launched on sale.
"A Skycar costs some 50,000 pounds. Compared to other models in this market - a penny, - assures Loton. - In addition, it can be mastered in just a couple of days, and the rest takes at least forty flight hours. In addition, Cardozo's invention works on biofuels and drives quite well on ordinary roads (it takes only 4.5 seconds to reach 100 kilometers). According to a couple of adventurers, they have a very real alternative to trains, planes and ordinary cars.