Not since the 1970's, when Smolinski and Blake flew a Ford Pinto by attaching it to the back half of a Cessna Skymaster,
has anyone taken a roadworthy motor vehicle and made it fly. (See-The Mitzar) This new accomplishment was shown Thursday November 16, 2006,
the work of a nine man team from the History Channel's television show "Monster Garage".
The show was the brain child of Jesse James (a master mechanic - not the desperado). He and his crew had five days
to construct a flying car from the salvaged parts of a hurricane-damaged Cessna, along with the shell and selected components from
a $90,000.00 Panoz Esperante, which is an exotic aluminum and carbon-fiber sports car built in Atlanta.
In the Long Beach, California shop of the "Monster Garage" this project was ambitious even by their somewhat audacious standards.
Among their other accomplishments, this is the shop that had turned a Mustang into a 50-mph lawnmower, and a school bus into a party boat.
Like all Monster Garage teams, this one was a patchwork of people from different backgrounds: three engineers on loan
from Cessna, a couple of guys from Atlanta Air Salvage, two mechanics from Panoz, a couple of aircraft enthusiasts and
fabricators, and a fellow who's been working on his own flying car project for years.
There was a substantial pile of leftover Esperante parts in the corner of the shop, as nearly a thousand pounds
of car had been removed to lighten it. Added to the auto were items salvaged from the Cessna - wings at a span of 40 feet, spars,
tail feathers, a carbon-fiber propeller, and a Lycoming O-320, which is a 200-plus-pound, four-cylinder aircraft engine. Remember,
there's still a Ford 4.6-liter, 32-valve DOHC V8 under the hood.
The Final Result - - Jesse James and the crew from "Monster Garage" actually got the Panoz Esperante to fly. James took the
Esperante aloft for around five seconds, reaching an altitude of two feet, and a total flight distance of 121 feet. There was
no damage to the car, and no there were no injuries to the flight crew.
Not bad fellows. Although it is not official, your achievement is believed to be better than the Glen Curtiss' flight in the Autoplane in
1919. We hear your TV ratings for the show were good too.