|1222 Research Park Drive|
Moller International, founded by UC Davis professor emeritus Paul Moller, is a local company devoted to making a flying car. The company claims to have begun development on a feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle — the M400 Skycar. It is interesting to note that the Skycar's Rotapower engines may be able to burn a variety of fuels, and is expected to be typically fueled with alcohol if the vehicle is ever produced (initial MSRP $1,000,000+). The Skycar is predicted to travel five times faster than most automobiles! The company originally started when Moller began marketing car and motorcycle exhaust systems called SuperTrapp.
Media and Public Appearances
- Moller was featured on CBS's 60 Minutes, hawking his product and suggesting it will be commonplace in the next 10-16 years.
- Moller was featured in a segment in Discovery Channel's Mythbusters.
- An M400X skycar is put up for auction on eBay, drawing the attention of local media outlets. Moller is quoted as saying he now expects the skycar "will be flying in three to five years."
- Dr. Moller gave an excellent public presentation at the Davis Branch Library.
- Wired Magazine admits the unlikeliness of the Moller ever going into production, but also says Moller "will soon be offering demo sessions in Davis, California."
- Engadget article Moller M200G hovercraft heading into production
- BBC reports that the M200G "Flying Saucer" will go on sale in the U.S. "in a few months," with a target production of 250 units per year.
- UK Telegraph Business diary: Long countdown for flying saucer
- The Register Moller touts flying-saucer hovercar, again
- March 18: Dr. Moller brought an early Skycar mockup to the Hoblit Performing Arts Center and gave a talk there as part of the Explorit Science Center Science Cafe lecture series. He mentioned a production date of 2012.
- October 1: The M200X goes up for sale on E-Bay in order to raise money. The 35 year old saucer, one of Moller's two vehicles to ever actually fly out of ground effect does not sell when bidding stalls at $20,000.00.
- Moller says his company is "On track" to build 40 Neuera Ground effect saucers in 2009
- The M200X makes it into a MSNBC article, Seven real-world adventures in flight, along with other flying oddities like lawnchairs hoisted aloft with helium balloons..
- None of the 40 Neuera saucers is built
- Davis inventor says 'Avatar' gets skycars right ... as if they needed Moller to validate the CGI flying machines.
- October 8: Moller general manager Bruce Calkins makes an announcement in the Moller Neuera Blog that they will begin taking deposits for the Neuera, despite 3 weeks earlier (Sept. 17) in the same blog he gives a litany of reasons why he could not state when production would begin. On the Neuera Q & A page he states 40 will be sold in 2011. As of September 2011, none appear to have been sold.
- September 28: Also in the Neuera Blog, Mr. Calkins ponders the question on everyone's mind: Which came first, the Neuera or the flying saucer on the Jetson's cartoon show?
- April 18 Skycar Manufacturer Moller International Announces Scheduled Test Flight . Moller states they are looking for advertisers to sponsor the event, and 250 journalists will be at the invitation-only event.
- July 19 In the Skycar Blog of this date Moller general manager Bruce Calkins says all stockholders of record will be sent an invitation to the event about 4 weeks before the October 11 event.
- August 10 Via the Moller newsletter, Moller announces a new enthusiast group “Skycar Advocates Supporting Personal Airborne Commuting” or SASPAC you can join for only $5,000. Looks like he has dreamed up another way to collect "deposits" on aircraft without having to worry about people wanting their money back when Moller doesn't deliver. This is the notice, as conveyed by a poster on the Yahoo Moller stock message board on August 10.
SASPAC Member Moller International is undertaking a campaign to work with sponsors who have an interest in participating in this event. If you own, work for, or work with a company that could benefit from significant international press exposure, please contact our marketing director, Mr. Jah Mackay at (925) 698 6525 to discuss various possibilities. Individuals can also participate in a unique way in this event by joining the newly formed “Skycar Advocates Supporting Personal Airborne Commuting” or SASPAC. As a member of SASPAC, you will receive the following:
- Skycar delivery position is reserved in your name
- Delivery position is transferable/salable by the member.
- Participate in this invitation only event.
- Memorabilia carried on board this first flight.
- Certificate of membership.
- Membership fee can be applied to the purchase of a Skycar or Neuera.
- Access to all future flights of the Skycar or Neuera
The fee to become a SASPAC member is $5,000. If you are interested in joining SASPAC, please contact Jah, or Bruce at (530) 756-5086.
- August 16: In response to a question as to how the Skycar was coming along, Mr. Calkins states in the Skycar blog "It is easy to answer a yes or no question, or one that is relatively straightforward. Unfortunately there are many factors to your question and the status of the Skycar and whether or not it will be ready to fly in October. We are working as fast as possible to make this happen, but until we get a bit closer it is very difficult to say yes or no." As of September, hardly a word has been heard from Moller regarding their progress (or lack thereof) towards meeting the 11 October date. An exact location has yet to be announced.
- September 7 Moller general manager Bruce Calkins responds to an email from Yahoo message board poster JEFF asking when invitations to the Skycar demo flight will be mailed to stockholders and if any delays in the demo are expected. Below are the text of JEFF's question and Bruce's response.
Hi Bruce, We are nearing the 4 week point, are there invites going out to stock holders as originally planned or will there be a delay? Everyone wants to know. JEFF
Hi Jeff. Thanks. We'll be in touch.
Regards, Bruce (contributor's comment: with only 34 days until demo flight, this sort of answer is doing nothing to calm the fears of Moller investors that the demo will NOT happen)
- September 14: Yesterday was 4 weeks until the October 11 demonstration flight when invitations were to be sent out. No one has received one and not one word from Moller International about the status of the Skycar preparations, or anything else for that matter. Why would we expect anything else? On September 12, new marketing director Jah Mackey made his (?) premiere appearance in all the Moller blogs, stating "Hello, I'm Jah the new marketing director here at Moller. I have been tasked with providing more expeditious responses to your inquiries, delivering the most accurate, up to date information available to your questions and maintaining all open lines of communication. All I ask in return is your patience and understanding as I try to catch up on the on back-log. Thanks again for your time and consideration." However, in typical Moller style, he has yet to say anything other than this.
- September 21: Tension in both the pro-Moller and naysayer camps is so thick you could cut it with a knife! Yesterday marked 3 weeks until D-Day, the October 11 demonstration flight of the Skycar. However, not a word has been uttered by Moller, his talking head Bruce Calkins or the new marketing guy Jah W. Mackey, in well over a month. This is not a good sign for the pro-Moller boys. See the "1998" link above, 3rd entry, for a typical Moller response! When difficult questions arise, the typical Moller answer is "no answer." Negative comments in the Skycar blog are being deleted daily, presumably by Mr. Mackey.
- September 27: Strike up one for the naysayers! Moller announced in a press release that the October 11 Skycar demo flight has been postponed indefinitely. In reading the press release, he makes it sound like a good thing. The sponsorships mentioned will cost $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 each. The Skycar will be used as collateral if he doesn't fly within a year of the sponsor making the payment. He is certainly consistent, you have to give him that - announce and stall, announce and stall, into the sunset! This may be the end of the line for him, but he will likely announce another date that he will fail to make. He has to do something to bring the stock price up. If he had anything that actually flew, he would fly it. He doesn't, so he won't. Here is a copy of the sponsor agreement mollersponsoragreement.pdf and also a "finder's fee" agreement mollerfinderagreement.pdf that Moller gives to potential sponsors.
- October 5 (around): There was an earth shattering, ground breaking announcement appeared on the Skycar Blog, from Jah Mackey himself: an agreement to produce the Skycar in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea! Amazing, finally the Skycar will be in production! But like all Moller announcements, it turned out that this was a complete hoax, probably perpetrated by some Moller enemy, or even worse, a naysayer! The problem was that anyone can sign on to the blog as anyone. How stupid is that: absolutely no validation whatsoever! I am the only one who knows who perpetrated this evil act, but I'm not telling. Shortly after this incident, the Blog was removed from the website. Fortunately, I copied the entire blog (from Sept. 3, 2010 to Oct. 8, 2011) and you can read it here MollerSkycarBlog8Oct2011.txt.
- November 7: Moller has hired a new company controller. He now has 4 or 5 full time administrators, and three or four part-time technical folks. One would usually expect such a company to be technician and engineer-heavy, but in Moller's case there seems to be about 2 executives for every technical worker. Also Clic Eyewear has been brought on-board as a sponsor, with the usual lack of any meaningful detail.
- January 24: Moller announces that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint venture with Athena Technologies of California to establish co-production of Moller's aircraft in the United States and China. The joint venture is supposed to invest $80 million (of an eventual $480 million) to produce a variety of VTOL aircraft by 2014. The deal is supposed to be approved "within weeks", but no deal is apparently ever signed, and no production ever results. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/01/24/518130/10019064/en/Skycar-developer-Moller-International-Signs-MOU-with-US-based-Firm.html
- July 3: Moller announces deal with American Space Industries to produce scale models of its Skycar for hobbyists. No models are ever apparently produced. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/07/03/558106/10039007/en/Mini-Skycars-Coming.html
- November 5: Moller announces a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The objective is to raise $958,000 to fund a demonstration flight of the Skycar, scheduled for June 2014. Various things are offered for different levels of contribution, including flights in the Skycar. The campaign closes with 3% ($29,429) of the $958,000 goal actually raised. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/11/05/586906/10056325/en/Moller-International-Creators-of-the-Skycar-Announces-Crowdfunding-Campaign.html https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/actually-fly-the-m400x-skycar-into-history#/
- January 7: Freedom Motors (Moller's engine subsidiary) enters into an agreement with Alife Air Automobiles of Singapore to " to manufacture, assemble, promote and distribute ALIFE products using the Rotapower engine". Alife is a scooter service facility in Singapore, with ambitions to become a scooter manufacturer. A scooter with a Rotapower engine is demonstrated at the 2014 Moller annual Shareholders meeting, but no production resulted and Moller's newsletters have stopped referring to the Alife deal. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2014/01/07/600887/10063319/en/Freedom-Motors-Signs-Engine-Development-Agreement-with-Singapore-s-ALIFE-AIR-Automobiles.html UPDATE: Alife closed down in September 2017 after only producing 20 scooters -- All with conventional, non-rotary engines. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/end-of-the-road-for-home-grown-motorcycle
- May 6: Thorntail Aviation agrees to pay $2 million to license intellectual property from Moller International for the development of a larger VTOL aircraft similar to the purported Moller M600 craft. An elaborate series of public appearances is proposed. The deal collapses within five months, no money changes hands, and no flights ever occur. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2014/05/06/633651/10080322/en/Moller-International-and-Thorntail-Aircraft-Inc-Agree-to-License-and-Demonstration-Terms.html
- June 30: The end of Moller International's financial year, and the annual report for this financial year marks the end of Moller International's filing of financial results with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After this date, there is no financial reporting whatsoever, and Moller International's finances are utterly opaque.
- At the 2016 Moller International Shareholders meeting, it is announced that Freedom Motors will be receiving $250 Million dollars from the "Funding Positive Change Organization" to start rotary engine production, administered by Power Source Creations, a two person company operating out of a residence in Las Vegas. Freedom Motors is supposed to get an immediate cash injection of $2 million, plus $7.5 million for the purchase of engine production equipment, and further payouts for subsequent milestones. http://moller.com/brochures/MI_FM_Shareholders_Presentation_2016_12_10.pdf
- Later it emerges that this funding is supposed to come from a "global currency reset", some kind of massive revaluation of international currencies in which certain currencies will suddenly be worth thousands or millions of times their current values. http://freedom-motors.com/brochures/February_2017_Brief_Explanation_Funding_for_Power_Source_Creations.pdf?utm_source=GoDaddy&utm_medium=email&utm_content=February+2017+Newsletter&utm_campaign=20170209_m137510566_February+2017+Newsletter&utm_term=detailed+explanation
- June/July: Once again, the M400 prototype was put up for sale on eBay, for a starting bid of $1 million (with an undisclosed reserve price) and a "buy it now" price of $5 million. There were no bids. After the auction ended on July 12th, the prototype was re-listed at a starting bid of $250,000, again with an undisclosed reserve. Once again, there were no bids when the auction ended on July 22nd.http://www.flyingmag.com/moller-m400-skycar-is-for-sale-on-ebay
- December: In its newsletter, Moller International announces that its engine subsidiary, Freedom Motors is planning an ICO (initial coin offering -- a cryptocurrency token offering) instead of a planned IPO (initial public offering of stock) to finance the development of its Rotapower engine that is intended to power the Skycar (and circumvent SEC regulations). The ICO is deferred in March 2018, once it becomes apparent that SEC regulation would apply to an ICO as well.
- August 2: Moller International stock is suspended from trading for two weeks because the company has not filed required information with the SEC (since June 2015). https://www.sec.gov/litigation/suspensions/2019/34-86562.pdf The shares resume trading on August 19th.
- September 20: Despite making "making every effort possible to keep from being delisted", the SEC revokes shares of Moller International. https://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2019/34-87020.pdf
But is it for real?
Over the years there has been an increasing number of people who believe Moller is running a smoke and mirrors scam. He has been two years from releasing a commercial model for the past thirty-seven years. Enough people have invested in his concept and become disillusioned to hold informal "Burned by Moller" conventions. The only flights his "400 miles an hour on normal gas" vehicles have ever taken are short hover-only flights of less than three minutes, always tethered to the ground, and always for groups of shareholders or potential investors. The military has looked into Moller's craft and declined to invest or purchase due to the inability of Moller to demonstrate any practical level of performance, but have done so with several other "personal flying craft" companies. In recent years, he made himself the President of Quail Oaks Ranch, a company that sells Organic Almond Butter. Moller now touts it as a way to live longer, pitching it in a pseudo-scientific slick salesman manner. He often mentions it in public appearances about the Skycar, and sends jars to reporters.
In fact, the Ranch company seems to be run through Moller. From their website, If you call to place an order during business hours the person answering the phone will say “Moller International”. Please tell the person who answers that you are calling about almond butter and they will transfer you. If you call after hours, when you hear the prompt “You have reached Moller International…” please dial extension 11. We will return your call ASAP during business hours. If you place an order over the phone please also note that the charge on your credit card will read “Moller International”. The company email is also "quailoaks@Moller.com".
Other than shares in his company, the only things you have ever been able to purchase from Moller are kitsch-like models, license plate frames, and glossy photos of his mockup M400.
35 Years of Missed Production Dates
In October 1974, Moller told prospective investors that they were on track for a December 1976 full scale production date.
In March 2000, his website stated "When will M400 be available? Limited numbers are expected to be available within the next two years. These will be used for marketing demonstrators, special sales, and military applications. A FAA certified model is more than four years away".
In June 2006, his website stated "When will M400 be available? Limited numbers are expected to be available within the next three years. These will be used for marketing demonstrators, special sales, and military applications. A FAA certified model is more than four years away".
In July 2008 they indicated in press releases that they were "on track" to build 40 M200G ground-effect vehicles in 2009, and that they already has several airframes and the design of a new landing gear completed. see http://www.moller.com/files/Volantor_Production_On-track.pdf So far in 2009 there has been no mention of this activity. It seems they are going to miss another promised date of production.
In both Moller's public comments, and his printed material, there is a consistent pattern of the vehicle in question always being about 4 years away from production, or some form of FAA certification.
The most recent missed date is one for an engine production deal. In early 2009, the Rotapower website was stating that "an Historical agreement" was about to be reached with PriMon AG, a Swiss firm. By late July, the notice had quietly been pulled down, and the site was once again indicating that Freedom Motors is seeking a venture partner for engine production. In the past, Moller has repeatedly been on the verge of an engine deal, which subsequently never materialized. Given the actual amount of work to be done in both development of the engines and the production processes, it seems unlikely that a venture partner will be found. The site has a posting called " Comments on Rotapower engine" where a lot of old things have been brought together, many with out date info. For example they are still talking about an engine deal with Madami International for use of an engine in an ATV called the X-Model. (Madami has been an importer/distributor of low cost ATV's and the like).http://www.freedom-motors.com/madami.html. This "deal" and the press release cited are now (in 2009) six years old. This is an example of Moller's "soft" misrepresentation of the state of development ans/or the performance of his technologies. Madami has no active website, http://www.madami.com takes you to an "under construction" placeholder site. Google also lists http://www.transnationaloutdoorpower.com/. That site seems like a dead end with no info about any type of off-road vehicle, let alone the rotapower-powered "X Model".
By September 2010, all of the above links to Madami, etc. had gone dead.
In August of 2009, they announced plans to build one "Firefly" fire rescue vehicle, while admitting they do not have the funds to complete it. All references to the production in 2009 of forty of the M200G ("Neuera" or "Jetson") model have disappeared. Given the Firefly's need for larger, dual rotor engines, it too, will likely never be built, or at least never finished and flown. Here again we see the track-switching tactic used by Moller over the years. Many grand-sounding projects are launched, but none are ever completed.
One year later, in August 2010, no progress had been announced on any of the M200-type vehicles.
The company had indicated that it had several possible engine production arrangements lined up in China and Korea, but as of mid-September 2010, nothing had materialized.
They also indicated to their shareholders that the new redundant flight control hardware, which was previously slated to be bench tested in early 2009, and flight tested in an M200G late the same year, was now delayed another year. They now say it will be tested this year, funds permitting. The 200G vehicle in which the flight control system was to be tested never got much beyond the fabrication of a composite airframe, actually built in 2009.
They state in other communications that the M400 is being re-fitted with nearly complete dual-rotor engines. With these installed, and the new flight control system working, the vehicle will finally be in its intended configuration. At that time, the company intends to flight test it again, in late 2010 or 2011. This will be the point where it will be seen if the vehicle can meet it rather lofty promised specifications in terms of payload, range, and fuel consumption. On April 18, 2011 a Moller press release announced a "scheduled test flight" of the M400 on October 11, 2011 to take place in Vacaville, CA. It also states Moller is seeking to sell advertising at this event, which informed sources say will cost "sponsors" (as Moller International now calls them) in the millions of dollars each.
The public demonstration flight did not take place. Moller offered some excuses along the lines of having too many people wanting to come and watch. In fact the aircraft was not ready for flight, because the engines were not finished. The actual status of the on-board electronics is also unclear. Now, some 4 months later, there has been no mention of any new date for such a demonstration.
In 2010 Moller International offered 6 of its Neuera saucers and 6 of its M-150 Skycars for sale. Actually they offered to take deposits. Only the saucer vehicle has actually flown. The M-150 is only a mockup, built for publicity. It has only two nacelles, so it would be rather hard to stabilize in pitch. No model or full size-vehicle of this type has ever been built or flown by Moller. Lacking the engines to actually power either of the vehicles, neither is likely to ever fly. Also, Moller's track record is highly unlikely to attract depositors. 2012 - In early 2012 the Moller site again introduced two new designs the 100 LS and 200 LS. Both are to be electric-gas hybrid vehicles. Moller now claims that these vehicles better suit the present market. One rendering looks very much like the M-150 mockup, with a bit more wing area added. None of these vehicles has been built, and the claimed specifications are at the very least, questionable. He has added a non-existent 85 HP electric motor to the two rotor Wankel engine he also doesn't have.
This is a long-standing pattern with Moller, as every year or so he promises to be ready to produce some sort of vehicle, then rolls out a different design. Thus nothing is ever finished, much less put through the rigorous testing required for a certificated aircraft.
SEC Fraud Suit
On February 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled a civil fraud action against Paul S. Moller ("Moller") and Moller International, Inc. From the SEC website:
"The Commission's complaint alleges that Moller International, a California company, and Moller began selling the unregistered shares of stock directly to the public via the Internet, raising approximately $5.1 million from more than 500 investors nationwide. The company was supposedly engaged in the development of a revolutionary personal aircraft, dubbed "the Skycar," that would allow a person to travel at speeds over 400 miles-per-hour above roadways for about the same price as a luxury automobile. Moller, age 64, the company's founder, chief executive office and president, made false and misleading statements about the company's imminent listing on the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market, the projected value of company shares after such listing, and the prospect for Skycar sales and revenue. In September 2001, the company filed a fraudulent registration statement with the Commission that exaggerated the true scope of patents the company held for the Skycar. During the Commission's investigation, the company belatedly cooperated with the staff in an attempt to bring it into compliance with the securities laws and to resolve all outstanding enforcement issues."
The complaint listed several False and Misleading Statements and Omissions made by the company, including:
"In reality, Moller International had virtually no revenue, had never sold a single Skycar, and never came close to meeting the stringent initial listing requirements for either the Nasdaq or the NYSE ... the Skycar was and still is a very early developmental-stage prototype that has no meaningful flight testing, proof of aeronautical feasibility, or proven commercial viability."
Moller agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 and to the entry of a permanent injunction to settle the action.
Bankruptcy for Paul Moller - is the company far behind?
In May, Paul Moller filed for personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Eastern District of the US Bankruptcy Court. http://www.sacbee.com/business/story/1962336.html This is not for his company, but for him personally. He listed assets of $46 million, and debts of $6 million. Moller has been personally financing the limited on-going activities at Moller International in recent years, due to a lack of investment capital. Given the overall situation, his company may also suffer the same fate. In their last few financial statements, they express doubt that M.I. will be able to continue as a going concern.
Some Say Yes
In response to the above-mentioned SEC complaint, Dr. Moller explains the case to The Wall Street Transcript:
TWST: Looking back over the years as you’ve worked on these things, has there been any controversy? I read that the SEC issued a complaint.
Dr. Moller: That’s correct.
TWST: Could you explain that?
Dr. Moller: Yes. Any non-public company (which we were early on) that raises money from what we would call angel investors or any investors has to raise it under certain SEC regulations that require you to determine that you are dealing with sophisticated investors. The problem is that sometimes people who want to become investors in your company will exaggerate their own net worth or sophistication, and it’s really up to us to determine whether that’s valid or not. We did have some investors come on board that the SEC argued were not sophisticated. Normally this kind of issue is resolved by providing a rescission agreement so that the investor can get his money back plus 12% interest. We have used this before successfully when any issue came up. The individual we were dealing with within the SEC resisted this approach. We believe he did so knowing that the investors in question did not want their money back and this would have voided his case.
See http://www.ripoffreport.com/Questionable-Activities/Moller-International/moller-international-bruce-c-7d7ee.htm for the story of one investor/vehicle depositor who DID want his money back.
Any small company that has faced off against the SEC will tell you that you do not fight this powerful government agency. You accept a fine to settle. You don’t accept guilt. You’re not claimed to be guilty, but a fine is a way of getting rid of something that you could never win if you really try to defend yourself. If anybody has experienced a fight with the IRS or the SEC, they learn quickly enough that, as a small company, you don’t have the government resources to legally fight it. The few who try always lose.
In the SEC's repost above, they state that "The company was supposedly engaged in the development of a revolutionary personal aircraft, dubbed "the Skycar," that would allow a person to travel at speeds over 400 miles-per-hour above roadways for about the same price as a luxury automobile..."
The Skycar exists and has flown on many occasions, although only unmanned and unloaded, on a safety tether, with single rotor OMC-based engines running on methanol. These engines produce about half the horsepower actually called for by a vehicle like the Skycar. The skycar has not flown now (in 2010) for seven years. If Moller ever develops the intended engine for the Skycar, then it may be possible to build a real-world version. Due to weight and power limitations, the Skycar has not been outfitted with all of the required instrumentation and equipment required to support communication, navigation, and passenger comfort. Even with the engines in hand, a great deal of other work remains to be done before the Skycar can be freely flown in US airspace, even as an experimental class aircraft.
The SEC is not the FAA, so they're only looking at the sale of stocks by Moller, not the validity of the Skycar. The SEC did look at the technical performance, or lack of it in Moller's case, because he had misrepresented his company's capabilities, and the capabilities of the aircraft, in order to sell illegal, unregistered stock.
The earlier versions of the Skycar, the M200x, flew successfully for over 200+ flights, both in VTOL mode and in level flight. Only a few other aircraft have accomplished that: the Harrier AV-8, the Osprey, the BA609, and the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). That puts Moller in some very heady company.
Note - the M200x has only flown on a tether attached to a crane. The actual number of test flights was actually closer to 50, with most conducted without any plan or data acquisition, according to sources close to the Moller operation at that time. Most of the tests were under 60 seconds in duration. This means the "level flights" Moller refers to were only 20 to 30 feet in length, at less than 5 mph. This doesn't exactly put Moller in the "heady company" of great aircraft like the AV-8B.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Moller International is the assignee (rights owner) of three design patents and six utility patents. A "design patent" is a patent that is granted on the ornamental design of a functional item that has practical utility. A design patent prevents a competitor from creating an item that looks substantially similar, but does not protect the functionality of the item. A "utility patent" protects the use of or functionality of an invention. They also have several patents that are registered in other countries.
|Moller International - Patents|
|Vertical takeoff and landing aircraft|
|Vertical take-off and landing aircraft|
|Stabilizing control apparatus for robotic or remotely controlled flying platform|
|Charged cooled rotary engine|
|Rotary engine having enhanced charge cooling and lubrication|
|Combination thermal barrier and wear coating for internal combustion engines|
|Robotic or remotely controlled flying platform|
One of my friends worked for Moller International a handfull of years ago, they are very protective of any trade secrets. —StevenDaubert
2007-03-03 22:25:03 "What is SDI flight systems?" Good question. http://www.sdiflightsystems.com resolves to a placeholder-coming soon message. A whois lookup resolves to a John Swope of http://swopedesigns.com, a maker of odd little robots in Sacramento. It's a strange world —GrumpyoldGeek Sept 2010 - the link to SDI still takes you to the same placeholder site.
Just curiously, what does personally affordable mean? I cannot personally afford one, I am sure someone like Bill Gates could, where is the line to be drawn. Also helicopters are both VTOL, and significantly more 'personally affordable' than this. If I remember my history correctly, as far as VTOL planes go, this is not the first nor does it seem to be in actual production, does that mean it is economically feasible? It is a cool car though, just to say. ~DavePoole 28th of March, 2007.
Just curiously, what does personally affordable mean? I think it means that if you have to ask what it means, you can't afford it.—Grumpyoldgeek
2007-03-27 11:12:28 I think it would be helpful if you could link the transcript to a webpage or uploaded document. —SteveOstrowski
- I found the TWST on the Moller website at http://www.moller.com/files/twst2005.pdf . Its copyrighted material, so I can't post it here.
2007-03-27 10:12:16 No idea was ever invented and perfected at the same time. Dr. Moller is a genius. His M200x has flown over 200 flights successfully. Tethers are neccesary because of insurance reasons and because he's flying within the city limits of Davis.
I have yet to find any reference to a "burned by moller" meeting anywhere..it seems to only appear here. Odd. I'm not toot'ing Mollers horn, he still has to get a sellable product, but it looks like someone is out to bash Moller rather than present the facts. —EllasBates
Ellas, you obviously have not worked with the guy or know his company. I attended the last stock meeting and the skycar has changed little in the last three years-is Moller putting you up to this? —NotImpressed
I'm just a person avid about flying machines and technology in general. I have worked for defense contractors and I know that machines like this take time and resources to perfect. I've been in the same place as Moller, designing new hi-tech products, so I understand the processes it takes to perfect an idea. He has flown, which is more than most people have been able to do with a VTOL aircraft. Its an idea who's time has come.
The man earned a PhD in Aerodynamics (I believe) without taking any undergraduate courses (from a documentary on the Discovery Channel, I think). He holds 20+ patents. the way the SuperTrapp works is, IMHO, pure genius. And I say this from the standpoint of someone who is a fellow inventor. And no, I don't know the guy, but if you're making assumptions from the fact that you've worked with Moller, I think you may be written off as a disgruntled employee, rather than an unbiased observer. —EllasBates
One of Moller's biggest problems is his lack of the fundamentals he would have gotten by taking all of those math and physics courses as an undergrad. The repeated failures of several of his early designs are evidence that he could not or did not do even the simple calculations to determine the required horsepower. He also did not think a stabilization system was necessary. XM-2 - underpowered and without stabilization - wobbled around in ground effect, but not controllable. XM-3 - two versions of a disk-fan vehicle. Had 8 go-kart engines, and no mechanism to counter main fan torque. Did not fly in either version. XM-4 - First version (after turbojet power idea was abandoned) has 25HP Fichtel-Sachs rotary engines, and no stabilization system. Not enough power to fly, amd would have been uncontrollable without artificial stabilization. Second version had 50 HP OMC rotaries, and stabilization. it flew. —DrMobogo
Ellas-actually I am not disgruntled and really should not be written off-as you say- The supertrapp muffler idea came from a graduate student of his (I think) on radial diffusion, (a thesis paper)if you must know, and judging from your comments you are the one personally attached to this guy, so when is it going to fly? Also if you read the SEC complaint, he really has no patents at all, and why would he have disgruntled employees anyway, do some homework before you start calling people genius etc. I lost a lot of money with this guy-did you invest too? —NotImpressed
2007-03-29 09:32:08 Above, moller answers one questions, The Skycar exists and has flown on many occasions, I remember at one stock meeting he attempted to fly it(without a man onboard) and it was so out of control that the safety crane had to pull it up. Of course after spraying us all with smelly exhaust gases and grass clippings, I would'nt consider that flying. —NotImpressed
2007-03-29 09:48:30 20 patents means very little. It matters what the content of those patents are. I would also say that more than a few aircraft have had VTOL capabilities. I know of several from my time at NASA that are not included. Also, the main reason there are few probably has to do with required capabilities rather than difficulty of design. —DavidGrundler
2007-03-29 10:21:11 Being discussed on slashdot right now, get there while supplies (mod points) last! http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/28/2228251 —WesHardaker
2007-03-29 12:07:13 It seems like they just can't quite finish it, some new change-engines-wings or they need more funding. Moller has said they have spent over a hundred million dollars on it-thats $275,000 every month for thirty years, funding should not be an issue. —NotImpressed
2007-03-30 22:42:43 Since you call him a genius you must have vested with him too, I am suprised at the updates to this page-where did this info come from? —NotImpressed
- The updated information is the natural reaction of the wiki; akin to a wiki immune system. When an anonymous person logs on and starts making negative comments on an otherwise inactive page it causes interest to be raised. Among the questions that get asked are "What is this person's agenda?" and "Have they edited anything else, or do they seem to be a single topic user?". Once that happens people put more effort into improving the information on the page. Someone looked up a partial list of the patents, someone else linked those to the USPTO website, I stopped by and took some photos to add color to the page. The fact that you used a sock puppet causes even more attention to be focused on your edits and another group of people are following what is going on because of that. —JasonAller
2007-03-31 09:24:43 I love my skycar. However, the warp speed doesn't work predictably. Sometimes, I end up in Kenya. Not that there's anything wrong with Kenya, but I was just trying to go to the grocery store. —KaiTing
- don't drink and skycar
2007-03-31 21:56:34 Kia, you probably din't put the flux capacitor in the right way-reverse it then you can get to your proper location. —NotImpressed
2007-04-19 20:50:56 Moller isn't alone in the quest to build a flying car. Two guys in Texas are working on it as well. —JasonAller
2007-04-20 08:14:41 As is Robin Haynes from Auburn, who's working on the Haynes Aero Skyblazer. It's not VTOL, but has retractable wings. —MattJurach
2007-05-06 20:03:31 Jason-man you get around. Its nice that you support Moller and all, but you really should let the comments be as they were. Do you guys always censor all the comments-not a true Wiki to me. And please don't show my URL address again, when I signed on I thought it was secure. But you guys run the show-so I doubt you will hear from me again. —NotImpressed
2007-05-07 00:13:34 The Davis Wiki is not intended for debating, oftentimes comments are removed because they detract from the purpose of the discussion - and that is to make the articles better. —KarlMogel
- 2007-05-07 23:08:31 Karl-says who? Is it better for you? And most discussions are usually debates anyway. Your own Wiki rules say it can be anything we want. Should I control what you post with what you are happy or unhappy with? I know we have deterred from the subject, but if people can't post their own views then this is not a true wiki. I am continuing this to help improve your site or at least the editing, I still believe in the freedom of speech. —NotImpressed
NotInpressed, please stop making caricatures of this wiki. The fact is that you are trying to do only one thing, and that is insert your view, one that I mostly agree with, into this article. You have the freedom to say what you want, but you don't have the right to solely control the content of the wiki. "Better" means more informative, accurate, and fair. Don't make this a freedom of speech issue, because it is not. -KarlMogel
- Karl takes the words out of my mouth, I am impressed. —StevenDaubert
2007-05-08 20:05:14 Karl, Thankyou-I would never try to soley control the wiki content, however I didn't think my comments were to produce a grotesgue effect or satirize the issue. I do appreciate your comments and will try to stick to the subject matter, do you know what happened to the SDI sign on the Moller Sign? —NotImpressed
2009-04-29 10:52:22 Regarding the mystery of the missing sign, the original SDI Flight Systems sign was stolen, and rather than simply replace it we elected to redesign the sign, replacing the wooden one with a new “tombstone” style sign which identifies Moller International, Freedom Motors and SDI Flight Systems as occupants of the facility. I believe this was completed in early 2008. SDI Flight Systems is a subcontractor of MI's as well as a tenant. —brucecalkins
The new sign photo looks fake - there is no shadow for the sign, while other objest's shadows indicate the sun was roughly overhead when the background photo was taken. —Billyknowes
- As you say, the sun must have been overhead, casting a relatively small shadow. Plus, it is over grass, and could be in the middle of a small depression. Both could easily hide a mid-day shadow for something with that small of a cross-section -JoePomidor
The sign is real, but the background is fake.
The sign and background are real, the wiki is fake.
The wiki is real, but the sign, background and Davis are fake.
Davis is fake, but everything having to do with Moller is real.
- The sign and Davis are real, the wiki and the background are fake. Except the cows.
- Davis is fake, but everything having to do with Moller is real.
- The wiki is real, but the sign, background and Davis are fake.
- The sign and background are real, the wiki is fake.
The picture of Peter Levin "flying" the saucer on the website is certainly fake - it was uh, produced several years before the saucer actually flew, and used in various Moller promotional brochures, etc. Even with a saucer which actually flew a few times, they use the fake shot instead.
Has anybody heard how they are doing on the new M200G - they said they were planning on building 40 in 2009. I haven't seen any mention of it in the press or on the Moller site? Sept 2010 - no M200G's have been built as of this date. Sept 2012 - no M200Gs, or anything else for that matter, have been built as of this date.
Rotapower has a new site up - it can be accessed from Moller's site. Not much new - the two links to PriMon AG, who are supposedly going to build the rotary engine, are dead. There is another fake hover picture of the small model of the big (M600) design - with no caption to indicate that it is not real. There is a picture of a young man holding a two rotor short block, claiming 160 HP. As usual, it's not a complete engine, just a block with a starter motor and plugs. Why don't we ever see a complete engine, running on a test stand or a dyno??? The Intelectual property page is empty (hmm....) And the "Engine test data" page doesn't really contain any test data. All in all, a fine example of Moller marketing collateral.
What ever happened to the testing they were going to do at the milk farm? Did that fall through?
Looks like the Milk Farm development deal is not going to happen, so probably no testing. The Skycar is not ready for test anyway. Curious, considering they have been at it for 15 years or so...
2009-06-05 16:07:31 I took the tour at once point. It seemed to me to be a dog and pony show to attract investors. It could have been the day, but when I was there, there were only a few employees in the entire facility, and the company was relying upon contracts to manufacture items for other companies (if I remember correctly) to keep its cash flow positive. They made a big deal on the tour out of a lot of wishful thinking - if only the DOD would fund them to finish the skycar, etc. But they don't exactly have the best (or any?!) track record that I know of of getting anything in the air for more than a very short time. It's too bad, because I used to love reading about the technology that they were inventing, and I wanted to see them succeed and maybe have my own skycar some day. But I really doubt that we will ever see it work somehow... —IDoNotExist
If you want to see some impressive UAV's, go to these two site - the second one has some video of a unit being flown very aggressively. Moller's overweight junk could never fly like this. Getting rid of the ducts and extra body really let a small multi prop (not fan) unit perform. Of course, staying on the ground is what Moller is good at! These hobby guys are light years ahead of Dr Mo. Because they've got more talent, and they want to succede at flying, not at scamming people. http://ng.uavp.ch/moin - this site covers a number of flyers http://vimeo.com/4476849 - great video of one multi fan unit in flight.
Yeah, those are pretty cool, but they also weigh a few pounds at most. I think that scaling it up to human transport level, like Moller's trying to do, is something altogether different. -MattJurach
But there have been several personal VTOL craft developed in the latter half of the 20th century by various companies, mostly for military use. Some neat footage exists of the earlier ones, recycled into dozens of History Channel and Military Channel documentaries. Drop the VTOL aspect and thousands of people build single or two person ultralights in their garages and fly them for recreation. —jw
2010-05-18 11:02:41 I know the discussion thread is old but wonder if some of the early posters are around and have changed their opinions? Moller's personal bankruptcy and the fact his flying car is still a pipe dream should be proof he has been conducting fraudulent practices the entire time. I'm surprised all his pilfered investors haven't started a class-action lawsuit against him. Or maybe they have? —checkplease
2010-05-18 13:02:15 Poor cash flow from a company (or an individual) does not indicate fraud. (In fact, about 9/10 businesses fail, which almost certainly means that they were not able to generate sufficient cash flow to stay in business.) Nor does failure to develop a successful or marketable product. (In biotech, for example, the vast majority of companies never manage to bring a product to market.) To be fraud, there has to be an intentional deception. —IDoNotExist
2010-09-09 07:54:22 Such a decption is mentioned in the SEC complaint. They use the term "false and misleading statements". Also, how can one take the "fake" picture of the hovering saucer (then the "XM-4") with Pete Levin at the (fake) controls as anything other than fraud? —FelixWankel
2011-09-07 08:45:11 I first heard of Mr. Moller in the mid-1980s from a colleague at the aerospace company where I work. He was even listed in "Jane's All the World's Aircraft." He was laughable even then. I caught wind of his upcoming (Oct. 11, 2011) "scheduled test flight" and have been following his latest adventure. I can't believe there are people out there still supporting him and the excuses they come up with to justify their support. I have been started updating this Wiki to keep others informed of his lack-of-progress and trying to stay objective, but it is difficult! —my2cents9
2011-09-14 12:54:47 Find it incredible that after all of these years, several other companies have produced proven flight capable autos while Moller still sits idly by with his "flying" Skycar attached to a crane for "Safety reasons" and has never advanced it to any type of true testing or demonstration. —Wes-P
2012-06-27 11:15:30 The engine design is not real, never been produced. Why not change it out for turbos? Why does the Williams wasp fly so well and stable but something with 4x the engines cannot. So now the wasp is in black out. Its over 30 years old and was stable. This can be done, its probably being done. We may find Mr. Moller is a patriot running a black-op. After all there has to be some reason for this. —Assalon5
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