Davis inventor says Avatar gets skycars right

Moller International’s flying cars, coming sometime between now and 2154.

Moller International’s flying cars, coming sometime between now and 2154.

You never know what’s going to come over the transom here at SN&R, like a recent press release from Moller International, the Davis-based company that’s been trying for years to build and market a flying car.

Moller congratulated filmmaker James Cameron on getting the whole flying dragonfly gunship thing pretty much right in his blockbuster film Avatar.

“The Company is pleased to see that the imaginary vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft technology used in James Cameron’s Avatar is similar to the Moller Skycar, the Company’s anticipated flagship VTOL product,” according to the statement from Moller International’s manager Bruce Calkins.

“The dual-ducted VTOL helicopter used for missions in Avatar is an excellent low-speed application of the ducted-fan technology we’ve designed for the Skycar,” the statement continues. “If one wanted a high speed aircraft, the ducts would need to complete their forward rotation … but overall Cameron’s vision of a realistic and technically possible VTOL aircraft was quite accurate.”

“I think today’s movie goers are very savvy and appreciate seeing something that might be possible in the not-too-distant future,” Calkins concluded.

As for the not-too-distant future, Avatar is set in the year 2154. That should be plenty of time for Moller to deliver their skycar. And there have been some delays; Moller is in bankruptcy and was sued a while back for fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Calkins said the bankruptcy only affects Mr. Moller alone, and not the company. And the fraud suit was settled—Moller paid a $50,000 fine—back in 2003.

“Our shareholders requested that the SEC produce evidence supporting the allegations under the [Freedom of Information Act], to which the SEC did not respond,” Calkins told SN&R. “But unfortunately, the persistence of their unsupported allegations on the Internet continues to undermine the company’s ability to negotiate new contracts.”

On the bright side, the company does have a snazzy new Web site (www.moller.com). And getting associated with the ridiculously lucrative Cameron project can’t hurt, either.