GORHAM, Maine — Thomas-John Veilleux dreamed up his flying automotive thought one evening in 2018.
Within the morning, he sketched out his tough designs on paper after which started taking steps to make his incredible thought a actuality, discovering engineers and founding an organization.
He thinks vehicles within the sky would possibly simply be his future.
“ the Wright brothers first flew 120 years in the past, on December 17, 1903, proper?” he mentioned. “That’s my birthday.”
5 years after the nocturnal brainstorm, the Augusta-born, Florida-based entrepreneur is in Maine lastly exhibiting off a full-sized flying prototype, making an attempt to find deep-pocketed traders prepared to assist him arrange a producing plant in his dwelling state. Nonetheless, the enthusiastic CEO admits his creation remains to be largely untested, with many regulatory and security hurdles but to clear.
Wanting like a cross between a snowmobile and an enormous drone, Veilleux’s one-man flying automotive is extra hovercraft than helicopter. Designed to function only a few ft off the bottom, Veilleux hopes to bypass federal laws so drivers received’t want a pilot’s license to function it on the street.
“Bear in mind Luke Skywalker’s land speeder?” Veilleux mentioned, making a Star Wars reference. “Like that.”
Calling his firm Land Rotor Manufacturing, Veilleux hopes to be promoting his ungrounded automobiles by 2030, for one thing like $70,000 apiece.
The prototype model is obvious, black and product of carbon fiber. With 4 units of double rotors, it measures 10 by 12 ft and weighs about 250 kilos, together with the batteries that energy it. Sooner or later, Veilleux mentioned there could also be fashions that generate their very own electrical energy with hydrogen or biofuel.
Extra superior fashions are additionally more likely to be extra luxuriously appointed, with plush seats, a much bigger windshield and a canopy to maintain out the weather. Veilleux thinks his designs will enchantment to of us who get pleasure from high-performance bikes and jet-powered watercraft.
Earlier than he will get to the business manufacturing stage, Veilleux plans on opening a Florida theme park primarily based on his craft throughout the subsequent yr. He has expertise in each vacationer points of interest and flying automobiles. Veilleux was certainly one of Maine’s first business drone pilots and has been working for the previous few years on the expertise finish of Sunshine State theme parks.
He plans on opening his facility in an 18,000-square-foot constructing nestled between two different established aviation-themed points of interest. Veilleux’s small theme park will function 14 flying automobiles, all inside and tethered to the bottom with hydraulics, which patrons can be taught to fly for $18. Utilizing digital actuality software program and headsets, patrons can even be capable of race one another.
“This might be four-dimensional,” Veilleux mentioned, “an immersive expertise.”
He understands he’ll want some huge cash to get his full-scale manufacturing enterprise additional off the bottom and also will must work out the legality of individuals working his low-flying aircrafts on the nation’s byways.
However Veilleux insists he’s prepared for the problem. Plus, the flying automotive’s time has lastly come.
“I’m 56-years-old. ‘Again to the Future’ is my all-time favourite film,” Veilleux mentioned. “The place are our flying DeLoreans? Properly, right here they’re.”