Detroit Flying Cars is one of the many hopefuls aiming to fly a car. The group suffered a setback as its owner and designer, Sanjay Dhall, tested its high-speed taxi and crashed in the early afternoon on December 14, 2018, at the Willow Run Airport (KYIP).
The aircraft crashed with a hard impact, ripping off the front section. He was transported to the University of Michigan. There is no news as to his condition.
The WD01 suffered major damage. As you can see from the video, the front wing (canard) snapped off the flying car.
So far, we know that Sanjay wasn’t trying take-off with the WD1. He was only testing a high-speed taxi test and only planning on lifting the front two wheels off the ground. Unfortunately, the WD-1 became airborne and hard crashed soon after.
Who Is Detroit Flying Cars?
Detroit Flying Cars has been working on a flying concept for some time. Sanjay says he has worked for Detroit’s auto companies for three decades and flown model airplanes, full-size airplanes, ultralight, hang glider, experimental, and home-built as well. He designed and owns the Detroit Fling Cars WD1. The FAA granted Detroit Flying Cars the Special Airworthiness Certificate on July 19, 2018.
The hybrid WD1 uses a 100 HP internal combustion engine (ICE) for flights and a 40 kW electric motor for land mobility. The WD1 should reach 125 mph (~200 km/h and ~109 knots) with a range of 400 miles (644 kilometers, 348 nm). Its range is about 50 miles but can be extended to 400 miles when recharging the electric motor battery pack with an ICE engine.
David Han, Sanjay’s business partner, told the Detroit Free Press the aircraft had conducted two previous successful taxi tests and that: “It actually took flight, which was more than he had planned for.”
The startup plans on repairing the WD1 prototype and continuing to test its design.
Flying Cars Or Road-Worthy Airplanes?
Reading, watching, and talking to experts on the latest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) news, the convergence of air and road is apparent and is happening faster than previously thought. So my next question will be, is it better to design a car that can fly or an aircraft that can drive?
In the meantime, we hope Sanjay Dhall’s condition is good and that he continues with his air mobility dreams.