Neil Laughton has a big day ahead of himself today, January 14th.  He’s departing from the city of London on a trip to Timbuktu, Mali in what will become one of the strangest adventures of this young century.  Laughton will be driving — and flying — a biofuel-powered dune buggy on this 3,600 mile trip.  Laughton’s Parajet Skycar will carry him by land and by air as it is both street legal and fully capable of flight.  On land, the Skycar is a standard dune buggy with a few extra features.  It includes a rear-mounted propeller and a flexible wing system that is reminiscent of a parachute.  Once the Parajet Skycar hits 38mph and the flex wing is in place, this dune buggy does what none other can do– it will lift off and achieve flight.

In flight, the Parajet Skycar can reach speeds of up to 70mph with a ceiling of 15,000 ft.  Laughton will pilot the Skycar close to these extremes as he passes over the Mediterranean, albeit close to its teeth near the Rock of Gibraltar.  The Skycar journey will then pass across the north of Africa until she touches down on Timbuktu, completing the goal set forth by the Pilot and his team at Parajet.  He won’t fly it alone, he’ll be joined in the Skycar for some of the trip by engineer Gilo Cardozo in addition to a ground crew carrying fuel and supplies.  One thing is for certain, this is likely the craziest way we can imagine to spend your new year– but we are pulling for both pilot Neil Laughton and the Parajet Skycar as they make their ascent into the history books… [parajet via cnet]