Experimental Aircraft: Coming Soon to a Garage Near You?

However, in a statement released at the time, the company acknowledged that questions remained regarding how the vehicle would be used, and whether regulations and licensing would allow its use in major cities around the world.

"The Autovolantor is technically possible, but flying it in U.S. cities is not going to be politically acceptable until it has been deployed successfully in other roles and environments," said Dr. Paul Moller, the company's founder and president. "Practical or not, it excites the imagination to think about being able to rise vertically out of a traffic jam and just go!"

But though Moller's work has apparently stalled, others have come closer to delivering flying vehicles.

Earlier this year, a British team traveled from London to Timbuktu in their SkyCar, a road-legal flying car.

British SkyCar Crosses Strait of Gibraltar

Led by Giles Cardozo, 29, the team designed a two-seater, bio-fueled flying car that can travel up to 112 mph on the road and 68 mph in the sky. In flight, the vehicle resembles a dune buggy hitched to giant sail.

As part of the journey, the team sailed over the Strait of Gibraltar.

Neil Laughton, a 45-year-old ex-Royal Marine and soldier, piloted the crossing and said to the U.K.'s Telegraph, "The take-off is always a real buttock-clencher but when we had set up the canopy correctly, the SkyCar was a dream to fly -- very smooth take-off, progressive ascent, gentle foot and hand steering controls."

Though the team doesn't plan to deliver the SkyCars until late 2010, people can start placing orders for the $81,500 (£50,000) vehicle now.

In February, The Butterfly LLC, based in Carter, Okla., announced the maiden flight of its flying motorcycle, the Super Sky Cycle.

On the highway, Butterfly says it reaches 55 mph and in flight it can reach up to 85 mph. In a press release issued at the time, the company said it had completed 30 production kits that are available for purchase.

And those who want to experiment with an even more Jetson-esque type of technology can explore another option: Hovercraft.

Hovercraft ride on a cushion of air created by a system pumping air into a chamber under the vehicle. Universal Hovercraft, based in Rockford, Ill., added wings to a regular hovercraft to build a machine that can cruise 2 to 6 feet above land and water and can jump to 20 feet to clear larger obstacles.

Although it can travel in the air, the Hoverwing doesn't require a pilot's license to operate and is registered as a boat.

"It's like a four-wheeler and a jet ski all wrapped into one," said Ryan Springer, the company's media director.

For military, survey or rescue use, the company assembles and sells a version that costs $85,000. It also sells at-home assembly kits for recreational use that cost upwards of $24,000.

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