Want to own your very own flying car? Will you settle for a prototype that never left the ground? Well then you’re in luck! Because the Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona has a 1990 prototype with your name on it.
The car is called the Sky Commuter and was produced in 1990 by a company in Washington state known as Sky Innovations. Started by former employees of Boeing, Sky Innovations was so full of promise back in the late 1980s. But they proved better at burning through money than getting cars to fly.
Sky Innovations set up shop just outside of Everett, Washington and reportedly spent over $US6 million trying to make the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) flying car a practical reality. Stories syndicated by the Associated Press boasted that the car would one day cruise at 137km/h at distances of 360km.
The company even claimed that they had successfully performed test flights. Curiously, they never could produce any visual documentation of these flights.
“We don’t want a lot of idiots crashing these things like in the early days of ultralight flying,” company founder Fred Barker told the Seattle Times in 1989. “We want to make it foolproof.”
Three prototypes were produced before the company folded (leaving about 60 very angry investors in its wake) but this is believed to be the only vehicle that survived.
This flying car was last up for auction back in 2008 and was sold on eBay for about $US130,000. The description from that auction gives some insight into the specs of the VTOL vehicle:
It has a operational electric gas assisted lexan bubble canopy. Electric controled directional driving and landing lights. Electric Joystick and two foot pedals on both side and the craft was meant to be controlled from either seat. Advanced front dash shell made of Carbonfiber and Kevlar. Rear engine and electronics bay accessible by tilting seats forward and removing the back panel. (3) huge 3 foot lifting fans CCW/CW rotation. This was made to take off in vertical fight and land. It can be landed on water and float like a boat and take off of water. The targeted dream was to lift above it all and not deal with the daily gridlock traffic. Nearly at the finish line it all came to a abrupt stop and all the years and investment and R&D and production, Remains in this one craft shown here.
Good thing none of today’s flying car companies are peddling silly vapourware like the Sky Commuter. I hear some flying cars are just TWO YEARS AWAY!
Pictures: Barrett-Jackson auctions, eBay and the 1990 Associated Press