Rolland Magallon's "Voiture Volante" 1992

(Rogallo Wing)

On February 25th, 1992, Roland Magellon applied for a French patent on his "Voiture Volante" which translates as "Flying Car". It was granted on Aug 8th, 1993 As soon as the patent was filed, Roland started building his invention. Roland's first flight was on December 17th, 2000. It was timed to coincide with the 97h anniversary of the Wrights' first powered flight.


The "Voiture Volante" attaches either a small Morgan, Esprit or other Buggy-type vehicle to a standard, Rogallo~wing hang glider. Assembling or disassembling the wing only takes about 10 minutes. The beams are pulled outwards, some wires and a crossbeam are fastened and that's it! Everything is done at shoulder height with light materials so strength or dexterity aren't an issue. Roland is currently working on making it even easier by designing a fully automatic, push-button wing deployment mechanism.

On his website, Roland writes about how his vehicle would be perfect for an athlete carrying gear to a sporting event, or for a windsurfer who's off to the coast. He tells how the owner could visit the races at Deauville or Rouen and - if it got dark or the weather turned bad -just return by road to Paris.

He digresses about how great it'd be to stop at villages or oases while flying over the Sahara, or to hop from island to island in the Maldives. His only problem is, he doesn't have any money As politely as possible, his homepage asks if there are any rich Americans out there who want to invest in his idea Yes, he's a very French guy.

However, he does have a point. It's a pretty cool concept. Just fold up your wings, tie them to the roof rack, or leave them at home if you don't need them. Furthermore, the steering of a hang glider is unlike that of a three-axis aircraft. Like birds, it has no rudder. That makes things easy when combining it with a car. In flight, the steering wheel is used for turning - just like on the road. It's pushed or pulled to change attitude. The gas-pedal is used for ascent and descent Simple. safe and easy to fly!


Roland gets into the details of why his invention is better than other concepts. He points out that his type of pendulum structure and 3.5 meter, transverse carbon cantilever delta-wings can safely reach speeds of up to 160 kmh and withstand winds of 60 kmh. Parafoils, on the other hand, especially those with unshielded propellers, aren't really a safe or practical option for road propulsion. He claims they're limited to a maximum speed of 30km/h and a maximum wind of 25kmh. He goes on to describe road propulsion via airscrew as illegal and simply dangerous. He also derides towable or roadable ultralight concepts for leaving parts behind at the takeoff-point or needing to lift or to jack-up certain parts to make the conversion to flight- mode.

Roland estimates his market comprises - at a minimum - all 100,000, licensed, ultralight pilots. He anticipates the market's size will increase tenfold over the next ten years. He also sees a large market in countries with poor road infrastructure. Furthermore, he thinks he can replace helicopters (except in situations where a hover-function is needed). He points out, the speed and versatility of his craft are somewhat similar to at helicopter's at only one tenth the cost.He says, he could manufacture a two-seat version of the "Voiture Volante" for 9.147 Euros (assuming volume of 30,000 units per annum. At normal mark-ups that would mean a sale price of between 22,867 and 45,735 Euros.

Here are two links to a video showing Magallon's "Voiture Volante" in flight -