January 14, 2009

Flying car departs London for Mali

A British team has embarked from London for a 3,600-mile journey in a flying car, the Parajet Skycar, to Timbuktu, Mali.

Neil Laughton, 45, who is leading the expedition, said the Skycar will drive on roads where available and will fly over the Strait of Gibraltar, the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the Empty Quarter of the Sahara as it passes through France, Spain, Morocco and Western Sahara on its way to Mali, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The Skycar, which engineer Giles Cardozo designed over the course of 18 months, resembles a dune buggy with a fan motor and paragliding wing and is described by the team as the world's first road legal biofueled flying car. They said the vehicle can be converted from ground to flying mode in three minutes.

Laughton said before the trip began Wednesday that the Skycar will be accompanied on its trip by a support team that includes a 16-wheel truck, multiple all-terrain 4x4 vehicles, four off-road motorcycles and a TV camera crew.