Native Village
Youth and Education news
September 2010 Volume 3

Mission organization’s flying car may be just the ticket for indigenous people
Condensed by Native Village

Many years ago Steve Saint asked the Waodani Indians of Ecuador -- the same tribe that killed his missionary father in 1956 -- how he could help them. The Waodani shared ideas about a flying machin.

So Steve helped engineer the Maverick Sport Flying Car.

The flying car is just that -- a legal road car with a wing deployment system like a paraglider. The wings enable it to fly over the Amazon jungles to reach the Waodani's isolated home.

The Maverick Sport is also comfortable to drive on the highway. In fact, it's been driven across the country. It's also rugged enough to handle Waodani terrain like a dune buggy.



“There are no roads,” said Mr. Saint, “and they have 30 feet of rain a year.”

Saint hopes all indigenous people will someday have such a craft, especially for emergencies and transportation for medical care.

The Maverick
Resembles a black dune buggy with a propeller on the rear.
Is powered by a 2.2-liter Subaru engine,
 It has a 15-foot-long body made of a light carbon fiber on a tube frame,
 weighs less than the 1,320-pound weight limit of a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA),
 has a 14-gallon gas tank, se
seats three adults,
 has air conditioning and cruise control.
  The engine, belt-driven propeller and 36-ft.-wide elliptical wing enable the car to fly;
The wing is stored on top of the car when not in use;

It needs about 100 yards to take off;
Pilots use the car’s steering wheel to steer;
It reaches elevations of 500 - 1,000 feet
To ascend, press on the gas pedal;
It ascends at speeds up to 40 mpg;
To decend, let up on the gas petal.  .

Mr. Townsend said if the propeller was going and the wings were on, it could take off from Interstate 75 when it reached a high enough speed.

“It’s amazing,” one person said. “That would be all right, wouldn’t it? You get in traffic, you could fly right out of it!”

The Maverick is also well-made.  It won the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award.

 While the final prototype cost $80,000, Saint hopes to begin producing them soon and keep costs down. "It’s entirely possible this time next year it could be in production,” Saint said.

Troy Townsend was a Maverick’s test pilot.  He said “our dream” is to commercially sell five of the crafts so they can sell at cost a sixth to the people who need it.

Mr. Saint is giving the Maverick Sport Flying Car he now has to the Waodani Indians. “They’re waiting for it,” he said.


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