Aerocar Model I
1949
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Aerocar Model I

American inventor Moulton Taylor's dream of a 'roadable aircraft' saw construction of a series of novel, but largely impracticable vehicles over 20 years, none of which reached series production. Taylor's Aerocar I flew in 1949 but was not certified until 1956. Six were built, followed by a non-roadworthy version called the Aero-Plane and finally the definitive Aerocar III in 1968. The Aerocars were essentially small, lightweight cars with detachable conventional light aircraft wings and an unusual Y-tail with a pusher propeller.

New rules on automobile safety in the 1970s required additional equipment for the car component of the Aerocar, such as bumpers, which increased the weight and expense and reduced performance. Plans to build a sleeker sportscar version were dropped.

Aerocar Model I

Comments
Scott Boyd, 05.03.2011

I still remember the tv show with Bob Cummings.

louis moore, 04.03.2011

It might be of interest to note that another "flying car" is now being produced in Florids. It uses a parasail for lift'
I think it is named "Hercules"
Developed 2006 - 2010

Reg Prosser (UK), 09.07.2010

Ref: e-mail from Nancy Backinger 11.05.2010

I can understand Ms Backinger's feelings regarding her grandfather's work on the Aerocar and I feel that I must try and explain about design/inventions in general.
As a retired designer, albeit in a different industry, it appears to be an unknown fact that any work carried out by a designer becomes the property of the company automatically.
I too have worked into the early hours, trying to solve a problem, in the full knowledge that the company will remunerate me for my efforts, but it will be the company that takes the credit in the end.
It seems unfair, but it pays the bills and any problems that arise from that time will be the company's responsibility.
Some solutions can be too complicated for a colleague to take over and that is the reason for wanting to retain the original designer. Otherwise it could be an expensive 'start again' problem.
I'm sorry to read of the distress that this caused you, but at the same time, a designer enjoys the challenge without complaint. If the job was a big one it could even find your name on the patent somewhere.
I believe that 'Molt' Taylor appreciated the work that your grandfather Jess Minnick did for him and both of them would get great satisfaction from seeing those designs actually working.

Nancy Backinger, 11.05.2010

As a child I stayed with my grandparents months at a time and was always minus my grandfather Jess Minnick,who could always be found working late in the night putting this dream he also had together. My grandmother and I would stop by for lunch and find him alone day in and out working to make this dream happen. He built the aerocar letting Molt Taylor get all the credit because he had the fiances but it is time that my grandfather gets some recognition, My grandmother Helen Minnick was a widow to the aerocar and I get sick of reading only about Molt Taylor's dream because it would never of happened if my grandfather had not helped put this all in place. When Jess Minnick would get mad and quit Taylor the aerocar would have to shut down, until Jess agreed to come back.

vintage aviation lady, 27.05.2009

I am writing a childrens book about the AeroCar, Airphibian, and the Transition. I'm intrigued that the vehicle was used during Airwatch AeroCar in 1961-62. Are their any videos or audio tapes available on line or in any other format?

Jake Schultz, 30.05.2008

Molt Taylor was a friend of mine. He was as full of life as he was brilliant. I conducted researched for 13 years, using his personal archives, to tell his story in the book "A Drive in the Clouds." Molt himself, just prior to his death wrote the Introduction and Paul Poberezny, founder of EAA wrote the Foreword.

It has been a privilege to pass along the passion he held for his lifelong work - to make an automobile fly...!

http://www.historicaviation.com/historicaviation/product_info.po?ID=11630&product=Books&category=civil&subcategory=Civil%20Aircraft

Wayne Nutsch, 30.04.2008

I used to fly N103D for KISN radio's Airwatch traffic reporting in 1960's. My log shows about 350 hours of flight time in it. It was painted white with red hearts all over and KISN underneath the wings.

Ivan Harris, 28.04.2008

The Aerocar was used for traffic reports for many years in Portland, Oregon. Molt was just a little way up the river at Longview, I think. They also designed other planes. I do remember seeing a plan to use a Honda CRX with detachable wings.

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FACTS AND FIGURES

The same steering wheel was used to manoeuvre the Aerocar in flight as on the ground. The engine only gave 40hp for road travel and the top road speed was about 113km/h.

The Aerocar could be converted from aircraft to car configuratioi by one person in five minutes. The first step was to flip up the rear licence plate and connect the propeller shaft.

A locking system prevented the engine starting if the wings and tail were not securely locked in place in aircraft mode.

The wings could be towed behind the car like a trailer or left at the airport until required for flight.

The Aerocar I had a frame of aluminium and steel with fiberglass skins.



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