The Maverick flying car
We've certainly seen some high-tech wonders over the past week at AirVenture 2010, but sometimes it's the relatively low-tech aircraft that are the most inspiring. That's certainly the case with the Maverick, a flying car from Florida's I-TEC (Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center). The Maverick could fairly accurately be described as a combination dune buggy and powered parachute, not unlike the Parajet Skycar. While I-TEC initially plans on raising funds by selling Mavericks to recreational users, they ultimately hope to put the vehicles to use in impoverished African nations, where missionary pilots can use them to deliver medical supplies.
As a car alone, the vehicle's performance is pretty impressive. Its 140 hp, fuel-injected, 16-valve Subaru EJ22 engine sends it from 0 to 60mph in 3.9 seconds, it has a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), and the whole rig weighs less than 1,000 pounds (454 kg).
When it's time to fly, the Maverick's central telescopic mast raises and acts as a wing spar for its chute, properly known as a ram-air wing. The flip of a switch diverts engine power from the rear wheels to the rear-mounted five-blade propeller, which propels the car across the ground, up to its take-off speed of 40mph (64km/h). Thanks to its ram-air wing design, the Maverick can take flight in only 300 feet (91 meters).
Once in the air, the vehicle's electronic fly-by-wire system allows the pilot to steer it with the steering wheel, just like they would on the ground. According to I-TEC, existing sport pilots can learn to fly the Maverick within 12 hours. A dash-mounted Garmin GPS allows for both aerial and ground-based navigation. In flight mode, it has a maximum payload of 330 pounds (150 kg).
Work began on the first version of the Maverick in 2008. It was completely rebuilt this Spring, however, with current version officially known as the Maverick Sport. It is licensed by the US Department of Transportation for ground travel, and is presently classified by the FAA as an experimental aircraft - I-TEC is trying to get it into the light-sport category.
The company claims that It should be available for purchase within a year, with deployment in Africa to follow.
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But on the other hand, I want one so bad. I would use it every day to get to work, until the police took it away. This is freakin\' cool. I found myself thinking about ways to move to Africa just to justify flying it. Seriously.
Some seem to think the only religion is \"I WANT ONE TOO!\" (so fn cool, etc.. ad nauseum) well, you are what made america what it is instead of what it could be and gave us the indearing tag \"ugly americans.\" I see as many of them on the left as the right so don\'t even start that false dichotomy on me today!
As for me, I gonna talk to them ... my un-xtian self is gona do that...
God bless those missionaries !
It\'s a tool; it could be used for good or evil, it could be productive or wasteful, but I\'m certain it\'s not intended to be a political tool- as some posters have hinted.
Not good for emergency rescue or air ambulance operations - can only carry 330 pounds when aloft; that means you\'re probably limited to two people max.
I think both Rana and the original designers agree on getting medicine to hard-to-reach places though.
Stretch, the problem with the example of missionaries delivering medicine is not the medicine. It\'s that the primary purpose of a missionary is not delivering medicine; it\'s converting people to their religion. The medicine is an attempted means to an end to win favor. This was going on in Iraq when one preacher set up a very large pool in the sweltering heat, but was only offering dips to U.S. soldiers who would agree to be baptised in it (the preacher was reported to higher ups for this, but I don\'t know what happened). I don\'t think people would have a problem if the example read Doctors Without Borders volunteers delivering medical supplies. There\'s no ulterior motive there. Me, when I think missionaries and this vehicle, I\'m imagining them carpet-bombing villages with religious tracts and mini-Bibles, Korans and Books Of Mormon. :-)
Anyway, I hope the designers have success both with selling this as a recreational vehicle and achieving their main goal of seeing it bring relief to rural areas in Africa.
[There's a link to the Maverick website in the last paragraph of the article. -Ed.]