Is The Moller Skycar A Fraud? Will I Ever Get My Flying Car?

Moller 200X

A recent comment here reminded me to check in on our options for flying cars, now at least seven years overdue.

It turns out that Moller International, the folks developing the M400 Skycar aerodyne, are accepting deposits:

As a result of the recent successful hovering flights of the M400 Skycar, Moller International is accepting deposits to secure delivery positions for our M400 Skycar until after the Skycar has flown from hover to full aerodynamic flight and returned (transitioning flight). A limited number of delivery positions are available.

List prices go from $500,000 to $1,000,000, depending on what delivery position you’re hoping for, with initial deposits scaled to match.

Problem is, Moller might not be entirely on the up and up. Downside lists the company in its scams section, saying:

For over forty years, Paul Moller, of Davis, California, has been trying to build a flying car. Over the years, he’s been extracting money from investors. Moller has been in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission for making “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.” He raised $5.1 million by illegally selling unregistered stock to the public over the Internet, according to the SEC complaint.

Forty years? Yeah, turns out they’ve been around a while, though they used to be called “Discojet Corporation.” The 2003 SEC complaint continues:

As of late 2002, MI’s approximately 40 years’ of development has resulted in a prototype Skycar capable of hovering about fifteen feet above the ground.

Fraud or not, they look cool, especially the early disc-shaped ones. And if all Moller did was design them for movies (one did appear in the 1978 film, The Force Beyond), it’d probably be okay. But then, all these flying discs look cool.