Steve Saint has developed a flying car. For years he dreamed of building special flying machines to transport people out of places like jungles where conventional airplanes don’t have room to maneuver. What he ultimately built was a little car that you can drive on roads and then soar off into the air from a space no bigger than a football field.
This summer Steve took his flying car on a test drive of 1450 miles from Florida to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Everywhere he went, people were captivated by his machine.
Why am I writing about a flying car in a blog that focuses on life in Ecuador? Because this story has a very deep and shocking connection to Ecuador. My thanks to Michael D’Addio for turning us on to this remarkable story.
But first, more about the flying car. (See video below.)
Saint’s 15-foot-long black car looks like the mating of a VW Beetle with a dune buggy or a swamp boat. It’s long and narrow with plastic windows and a big propeller on the back. In order to fly a tall mast is attached to the top of the car.
A one-piece parachute–the wings–zips out of the top of the car and is connected to the mast. Next thing you know, you’re soaring through the air like a metal bird. The flying car rises or lands simply by accelerating or decelerating with the gas pedal.
The vehicle has two drive systems, both operated with a regular steering wheel. One system is for driving on the ground. The other system is the propeller drive which can be used for flying, navigating over water or on ice and snow.
In the air the car chugs along at 40 mph. On land it’s a little speed demon, zipping along at 93 mph and accelerating from a speed of 0-60 mph in only 3.9 seconds!
It’s also fairly economical, getting 25-30 miles per gallon of fuel.
Saint says the flying car has many uses. It can be utilized commercially or for private recreation. Just to be able to elevate out of traffic jams or gridlock make it worth developing as a vehicle for the masses. Who hasn’t dreamed of such an escape when stuck on the freeway, unmoving, while both the temperature and tempers rise with each minute of delay?
In September 2010 the FAA certified the flying car and it became the second vehicle in U.S. history that can legally be driven and flown.
Want one? Steve’s company, I-Tec, will begin production and the car can be purchased for about $84,000.
My next blog will reveal more astonishing details as Steve Saint’s saga continues. Events that unfolded in Ecuador played a pivotal part in his life and the choices he has made, events both brutal and inspirational.
Note: The title of this article is a take-off on the words of James Taylor’s song, Fire and Rain.