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ECOBOOST TAKES FLIGHT

How the lightweight, dynamic Ford engine powers a fantastic flying machine.

By Patrick Dunn
Photos and Video Courtesy SkyRunner, LLC

Flying cars have long been a staple of science fiction, but British aviation company Parajet has made that fantasy a reality—with a Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine at its heart.

Parajet’s SkyRunner is an all-terrain vehicle with a rear-mounted propeller and an air-ram parafoil wing stored in the car. “The car basically hangs from the wing, which has the structure and shape to give the vehicle lift,” says Andre Brown, Parajet’s head of design.

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An early prototype, which used a motorcycle engine, was too heavy to achieve efficient flight. So when it came time to design the production SkyRunner, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost—which is currently available in the 2015 Fiesta—was the perfect choice. “The engine has a small footprint within the chassis,” Brown says, while its high torque generates twice as much thrust as their previous motors.

Stewart Hamel, Parajet’s funding, manufacturing and distribution partner, says that while his initial target market was “wealthy adventurers,” he now sees that the SkyRunner could have other important applications. “It’s incredibly useful for large landowners, pipeline companies and government agencies needing low-cost, low-maintenance aviation assets,” says Hamel. “It’s the greatest toy I’ve ever owned, but its utility is amazing!”

FLYING NUMBERS

4.3 secs
Time to go 0-60 mph

115 mph
Top speed on the road

55 mph
Range in flight (500 miles on the ground)

200 miles
Top speed in the air

450 ft
Run needed to take off

200 ft
Run needed to land

Tags: ECOBOOST®