A car-sized "flying saucer" has been developed by a company in Davis, California called Moller International. The saucer can carry 250 pounds, flies 10 feet high, and can be bought for $90,000.
Moller's flying saucer, model M200G, is actually a version of a hovercraft, and is supported by the downdraft of eight rotary engines. The driver uses a joystick for steering and sets the desired altitude with a lever, and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph. The craft is technologically capable of flying more than 10 feet high, but the engineers constrained the altitude with a computer since pilot's licenses are required for flying more than 10 feet.
Moller's flying saucer can burn gasoline, or a combination of ethanol and water, giving it very low emissions. However, the fuel economy is extremely low, as the craft gets only a little better than 1 mile per gallon. Running at top speed for an hour, it consumes about 40 gallons of fuel. The company is also working on a muffler to reduce the present ear-splitting sound of 85 decibels.
Compared with a conventional hovercraft, the flying saucer's height enables it to be operated over land and water and obstructions that would prevent a hovercraft from working. The company thinks that the saucer might be useful for traveling over swamps, bogs, and rocky coast lines.
Moller plans to build six demo models during the next year, and eventually increase production to up to 250 per year. Depending on the demand, the company may subcontract to larger factories.
via: Live Science