Briton to pilot flying car to Timbuktu
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In an expedition worthy of a Jules Verne novel, a British adventurer will embark this week on a journey from London to Timbuktu — in a flying car.
Neil Laughton and his expedition team will begin the 6,400 kilometre, 42-day trip Wednesday aboard a four-wheeled, 450-kilogram buggy, which they have called the Skycar. The team says it's the world's first road-legal biofuelled flying car.
The Skycar, outfitted with a fan motor and a parachute that doubles as a wing, will travel by road, taking off where driving conditions are less than ideal. The vehicle will take to the skies over the Pyrenees mountains, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Atlas mountains and above parts of the Sahara desert, before ending its journey in the city in Timbuktu, located in northern Mali.
It has a cruising altitude of 600 to 900 metres and a top airborne speed of 110 km/h. On the road, it has a top speed of 180 km/h. The Skycar has no pitch control in flight, so it cannot stall or dive, says the expedition team. Around $445,000 — including money from a number of sponsors — has been invested in its development.
Laughton is no stranger to wacky adventures, having taken a paraglider to the Mount Everest summit, and motorbiked across the Sahara and into the Atlas mountains. Laughton will be the main pilot of the Skycar, although its creator, 29-year-old engineer Gilo Cardozo, will join him in the vehicle on the African leg of the mission.
Cardozo told BBC News he plans on selling the car commercially for around $90,000 apiece if the mission is successful.
Click to view image: 'Skycar'
Parajet Skycar Expedition leader Neil Laughton, left, and car creator Gilo Cardozo pose with their flying car Tuesday in London.
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