Experimental ‘flying car’ crash at Willow Run Airport

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The aircraft, an experimental Sanjay Dhall WD-1, experienced an uncontrolled ascent during a high-speed taxi test at Willow Run Airport (KYIP), Detroit, Michigan. The flying car/airplane sustained substantial damage and the sole pilot onboard injuries of an unspecified severity. 

The FAA said the crashed aircraft was an experimental Detroit Flying Cars WD-1 flying car. The crash occurred just after 1 p.m. Friday during a taxi test.

According to the Wayne County Airport Authority, the vehicle unexpectedly went airborne during the taxi test and crashed. The pilot, the only person in the vehicle at the time of the crash, who was taken to University of Michigan Hospital by paramedics.

The investigation is ongoing.

Images from the scene show the vehicle was heavily damaged. The pilot was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital by paramedics but the nature of his injuries were not detailed.

The WD-1 looks something like the better known Terrafugia Transition but has some different design features. For instance, instead of folding the wings against the fuselage for driving on the road, the wings and canards telescope into and out of storage bays in the fuselage.

The flying surfaces are vertically offset so they stow stacked one on the other in the fuselage. The wheels are independently driven by electric motors on the road. In the air, an Airmomentum 100-horspower four cylinder engine powers the rear propeller. The FAA granted the company a special airworthiness certificate for flight testing in July of 2018.

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