Every small boy wants to believe in Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and the existence of flying cars. I remember being overjoyed when I managed to get a near exact replica of my Uncle George’s large boxy estate car back in the seventies, made by Dinky if I recall correctly. It amuses me now, as take away the connection and you have a pretty dull looking model car.
But imagine if it could fly? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is memorable for two reasons to me, firstly the dread the child catcher filled me with as he looks into the window where the Pott family are hiding, something about the odd angle he is at, and then the moment where the car sprouts wings. To a small boy unfamiliar with the plot or what the magical car could do, it was jaw dropping.
I had a similar feeling when I saw images of the Maverick flying car, there was just something about the vision of something that we are so grounded in believing to be always – well, grounded actually flying through the air, its wheels hanging below belying their true reason for being.
The Maverick LSA has acquired the nick-name the flying car for all the right reasons, because it really does fly with the aid of a large rotor blade on the back and a kind of hang gliding wing. The company tee-shirt states “..my other car is an airplane..” – with the word ‘other’ crossed out.
The Maverick is, on initial viewing, an odd looking contraption, something that Caractacus Pott could indeed have conjured up in his shed at the bottom of the garden with its large, slightly cumbersome looking propeller attached to the back. But when you look a bit deeper, you can maybe see a bloodline that goes back to the original BMW Isetta 3-wheeler or more likely the Messerschmitt car, a 3-wheeler that actually looks like the cockpit of a Messerschmitt fighter removed from the plane and plonked on top of the chassis of a trike.
The LSA is powered by a Subaru 2.5 litre engine with 190 hp, which will power both the road going chassis and the propeller when in the air. Steering while in the air is still carried out with the steering wheel which controls the large, hang gliding-style wing that keeps the Maverick in the air.
The Maverick is essentially a kit car and comes in 4 different options, the Ultimate Roadable (URATAV), which is an all-terrain off-road version, a version specifically built for the air with a propeller drive only (HPAV), a ground driven version only which does away with the propeller altogether (HPRATV) and the Xtreme Roadable (XTRV), with a crazy power to weight ration due to weighing in at under 1000 lbs – this version has 300 hp at it’s beck and call. While the version naming ideas might have been a little more catchy, the potential of some of these specifications are more than interesting.
On the road, the Maverick can get itself up to 60mph in just under 4 seconds, I’m not sure which would be the more scary to be honest – taking off in the Maverick or storming to 60mph in something so small. In the air, the Maverick LSA can fly at 40mph and has a service ceiling of 10,000ft. Well actually thinking about it, taking off by far wins that battle.
Ever since the car was invented, it’s been a dream for many to be able to make a car fly and many have tried over the years, with varying degrees of success. The Maverick has proved itself to be a perfectly capable car both on road and off-road as well as in the air. A successful flying car has been a long time coming. The guys at I-TEC (Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Centre) in Florida should be extremely proud.
Beyond Roads LLC have been given the manufacturing rights for the Maverick flying car and the adventurous (or just brave) can pick up a Maverick LSA for around £62,000.
Images from technodo.com, mavericklsa.com