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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's skycar

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
A British adventurer plans to set off Wednesday in a home-made vehicle which can transform itself from a car into an aircraft in minutes -- destination Timbuktu.

On the ground the Skycar runs on a biofuel-powered engine, and can accelerate from zero to 100 kilometres (60 miles) per hour in 4.5 seconds.

But with a powerful fan on the rear its take-off speed is 60 kph (37 mph), and once in the air it can fly at speeds of up to around 110 kph (70 mph), cruising at 2-3,000 feet with a paraglider-style canopy holding it aloft.

At 9:00 am (0900 GMT) Wednesday, inventor Giles Cardozo will leave the British capital for the 6,000-km (3,750-mile) trip through France, Spain and north Africa, across the Sahara to the fabled desert city of Timbuktu in Mali.

The journey is expected to take some 40 days, during which they plan to soar over the Pyrenees, and the Straits of Gibraltar between southern Spain and Africa.

With four-wheel drive it can allegedly deal with the most rugged terrain, starting on the city streets of London and ending in the sands of the Sahara.

"It's not like a car -- it's more like a dune buggy," said Cardozo. "But no other dune buggy or car has flown like this thing before. It flies brilliantly.

"It flies at about 70 mph (110 kph) and drives at 120 mph (193 kph), so it's a really cool bit of kit," added the 29-year-old, whose trip is backed by famous British explorer Ranulph Fiennes as patron.

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Britons sign up to own land earmarked for Heathrow expansion
London (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
Thousands of Britons have become "beneficial owners" of land earmarked for the construction of a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport in a bid to derail proposals for its expansion, campaigners said Tuesday.

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