A Prototype Sky-Car Lifts Off in 1960

In 1960, helicopter pioneer Frank Piasecki successfully test drove his Piasecki VZ-8P Sky-Car (aka the "flying jeep") for the very first time—and True magazine was there. According to Piasecki:

We already have plans to turn this into a consumer product. A driver and three passengers could ride it its enclosed cockpit. The wheels will be powered so it can be driven into and out of garages. It could be flown over mountains, but we believe it will work best near the ground so that civilian operates would not have to learn complicated navigation.

Piasecki envisioned a "simplified and fool-proof" Sky-Car able to fly at speeds of 150 mph and up. "Manufactured at anywhere near automobile volume . . . it could retail at not much more than, say, a Continental Mark II automobile." The Continental Mark II was a luxury car with a price tag to match, but it retailed for considerably less than the cheapest helicopter available at the time (the $39,000 Bell 47G).

The catch was that the military got the flying jeep first. To that end, they bankrolled Piasecki's work in competition with two other corporations. Piasecki went on to build and fly an Airjeep II—but alas for our sky-driving future, the army abandoned the sky jeep to concentrate on "further development of conventional battlefield helicopters."

A Prototype Sky-Car Lifts Off in 1960S