The DeLorean name is iconic thanks largely to Back to the Future, in which one of the original automaker’s cars was turned into a time machine by ‘Doc’ Emmett Brown. Now, the original DeLorean founder’s nephew is working on making flying cars a reality, with his own aerospace company.
Paul DeLorean’s DeLorean aerospace isn’t actually aiming to exactly replicate the scene from Back to the Future in which the time machine takes off as an airborne vehicle. But it is trying to create a vertical take-off and landing craft (VTOL) that would be able to operate in a roughly similar manner, and it’s hoping to have a full-sized prototype ready within a year’s time, according to Wired.
DeLorean’s first aircraft is called the DR-7 VTOL, and it looks like something out of a much more modern sci-fi film. There are two turbines for propulsion, as well as a two-seat cockpit about mid-body. The plan is to make it a fully electric vehicle, and DeLorean has already completed two small-scale models, including a one-third scale engineering model.
Eventually, the hope is to build a final piloted craft that can travel for 120 miles on a full charge, with a body length of 20 feet and a width of 18.5 across the sides stretch of its wingspan. The range is the biggest challenge and its potential standout point among the competition, given that other prototype designs have much shorter projected ranges.
Flying cars have always been cause for imaginative flights of fancy, but more and more they’re becoming targets for actual engineering efforts at big aerospace companies and technology startups. Who knows: Maybe the next Back to the Future will feature an entirely different kind of DeLorean, for which flight is nothing special.