LONDON (AFP) — A group of British adventurers set off from London to Timbuktu in a flying car Wednesday -- but the project immediately hit turbulence, as they have not received permission to take to the skies here.
The Skycar team, who left London Wednesday morning, are planning to part-drive, part-fly the 6,000 kilometres to the Malian desert city in 42 days.
But their plan to take off across the English Channel between Britain and France was scuppered because they did not submit the relevant paperwork to authorities.
The team insists, though, that it is in order for the rest of the trip.
They were meant to receive a licence from Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow them to fly here.
A CAA spokesman said that, before granting this, it needed the green light from the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA).
But BMAA chief executive Weighell Geoff said: "As we have not got the submission, we cannot give a date for when they will be able to fly."
Charlie Bell, a Skycar expedition spokeswoman, said the team was "in liaison with the CAA and they are looking to finalise the permit," adding that they would be able to fly in other countries.
On the ground, the Skycar runs on a biofuel-powered engine and can accelerate from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 4.5 seconds.
Once in the air, it can fly at speeds of up to around 110 kph, cruising at 2-3,000 feet with a paraglider-style canopy holding it aloft.
The plan is to fly for parts of the journey including over the Pyrenees mountains, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Sahara Desert.
Chief pilot on the trip is Giles Cardozo, 29, whose firm Parajet makes the motors which propel the jet. The BBC reported that the firm hopes to sell Skycars commercially for 50,000 pounds each.
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