Monday, 17 December 2007
The Moller M400 Skycar to be launched to market c.2010.
The working prototype of the M400X has successfully completed its initial hover tests.
The next phase of the testing will be to extend the hover flight characteristics with manned and untethered flights, hopefully within the next several months.
Moller are preparing the M400X for the new, more powerful Rotapower engines required for this phase, and are working to integrate these engines with updated electronics that make up the artificial stability system.
The next set of tests will be announced as soon as Moller can safely demonstrate the new features including a set of piloted test flights with parameters defined by the FAA for an Experimental Aircraft.
After the completion of these tests, Moller hope to build up to three M400 pre-production aircraft that will incorporate changes to the fuselage and cabin and prepare us for high-speed, and mid-air VTOL to high-speed cruise transition maneuvers.
It is Moller's intent to test the full-scale preproduction Skycar in a wind tunnel to validate the transition characteristics prior to performing this transition in flight, but high-speed flight tests may be performed that originate with the nacelles (engine pods) in the horizontal position rather than their VTOL-mode orientation of 45 degrees of rotation.
These tests will require that the Skycar use a conventional runway for take off and landing and will be required only for these tests. The Skycar's VTOL mode take off and landing capabilities will continue to be demonstrated during other low-speed test flights.
Initial use of the Skycar will require a pilots license, just as any other aircraft. The combined VTOL and conventional flight characteristics may require additional certifications (similar to type-license requirements for rotary winged aircraft) but the final determination has not yet been made and will be subject to FAA regulations and guidelines.
We believe the ease of use of the Skycar will eventually result in a gradually decreasing requirement for pilot training and, hopefully, less costly pilots training requirements. It may also result in changes to the current FAA mandated requirements for pilots operating licenses.
The earliest Moller anticipate an FAA certified production Skycar is 2010.