First off, please heed this warning: The video above is a bit shocking and the two occupants were reportedly injured severely as a result of the crash. If there’s any good news here, it’s that the pilot and passenger are at least alive, which could be something of a miracle considering this impact and subsequent fall.
The story was posted yesterday on Reddit, with a simple description of “testing a flying car.” A link in the comments took us to a pair of YouTube videos posted by HunterQ8y, one obviously showing the crash above, and this one showing a close-up shot of the aftermath. To alleviate any concerns about the liquid stains on the brick, it’s widely believed that is from the vehicle, either oil or transmission fluid.
So what the heck happened? The video descriptions and Reddit thread are thin on information, other than letting us know this is a SkyRunner light-sport aircraft and that the two occupants – who were apparently husband and wife – were severely injured. Jumping over to the SkyRunner website, we see the SkyRunner is an FAA certified and available for purchase. It’s basically an all-terrain car/ATV with tandem seating, a propeller mounted at the back, and a parachute wing for taking to the skies.
According to the website, it has simple flight controls for turning left and right. Altitude is controlled by the throttle, and it has a “restricted operation altitude” of 10,000 feet. We don’t know if problems were encountered after take off – a special pilot’s license is required to fly the SkyRunner so presumably the pilot had the necessary training. Given a choice of taking off towards tall buildings or a clear horizon, however, we’d certainly choose the clear horizon provided the winds were favorable. If not, we’d have certainly picked a different location for the flight that didn’t include buildings on the departure heading. That's especially true if this was in fact a test flight in a new machine.
Regardless, we hope the pilot and passenger make a swift, complete recovery. Whether you’re on the ground or in the air, stay safe out there everyone.