Science fiction could well become reality after NSW revealed it is to spend $950,000 on a “state-of-the-art” testing facility for an electric flying car it hopes will revolutionise regional Australian travel.
The facility in Narromine, near Dubbo, will test AMSL Aero’s new vehicle, which is driverless, can carry six people and fly at speeds of up to 300km/h.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said, “Imagine the convenience of having a flying car land in your suburb when you need to travel to a regional destination that is not serviced by an airport?
“It sounds like science fiction but the reality is a future where this is possible, practical and affordable is not that far away.”
Australian company AMSL Aero’s so-called ‘Vertical Take-Off and Landing’ vehicles (VTOLs) are entirely battery-powered and can take off and land like a helicopter from any helipad or ‘vertiport’. They have a top speed of 300km/h and can fly non-stop at up to 250km/h.
The new testing facility, which will open early next year, will be the first to be based at the new Narromine Aerodrome precinct, which was itself funded by a $750,000 state grant.
AMSL was founded by CEO and chief engineer Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon, who leads business and operations.
Moore has more than 20 years experience in the industry and started out as an engineer in the Australian Navy, while Lyndon spent the last 11 years working in senior roles at Google.
Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders said, “It’s fantastic to see businesses expanding and bringing job opportunities to the electorate of Dubbo, especially given the drought and COVID-19 has forced many locals out of work recently.
“We are a resilient bunch, we have a dynamic workforce here in Dubbo, and here is the perfect location for a company like AMSL Aero to expand and grow.”
Narrromine itself has a rich aviation heritage, and its existing aerodrome is considered the country’s gliding capital.
Nancy-Bird Walton, Charles Kingsford Smith and American pilot Chuck Yeager have all visited.
Its regional flying club was started in 1929 and pilots trained in Narromine during World War II.
“We are excited by the opportunity to use this grant to help us prepare for our upcoming launch and build essential testing facilities,” Moore said.