British adventurer Neil Laughton will begin a unique odyssey tomorrow. The former special forces officer will depart from London on his way to Timbuktu, located in the African country of Mali, and while a journey like this one is interesting in and of itself, it is Laughton’s mode of transportation that really sets it apart.
Laughton will be traveling in a specially designed dune buggy dubbed the Skycar, which is a cross between an off-road vehicle and a paraglider. Utalizing a giant parachute and a large fan mounted on the back of the car, the driver is able to take flight, transitioning from the ground to the air in just three minutes. While in flight mode, it typically cruises between 2000 and 3000 feet, but can reach altitudes as high as 15,000 feet. All the while running on biofuel, making this an environmentally friendly endevour.The 4000 mile expedition is expected to take roughly 42 days, traveling from London to France, Spain, Morrocco, Mauritania and of course Mali. The return trip will also pass through Senegal as well. Much of that distance will be covered on the ground, where the Skycar can reach speeds of up to 108 mph, but Laughton will pilot his flying car over the Pyrenees, followed by the Strait of Gibralter, and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, although Laughton hasn’t ruled out taking to the sky at other times as well.
The team behind the Skycar sees this adventure as a shakedown cruise to test out their little toy. If all goes well, they intend to sell the vehicle to the general public, hoping to get as much as $75,000 for a car that can literally take you just about anywhere.
You can track the expedition’s progress on the official website.
[via the BBC (video included with story)]