Moller is currently working with the FAA to obtain certification of the M400 Skycar under the "powered lift normal" category. The airworthiness criteria manual, which governs the certification tests, was drafted by a team of FAA personnel and industry representatives. Moller International is a member of this team.
In addition, the FAA has established a "powered lift" pilot's license. This, together with a thorough familiarization, will be required to pilot a Skycar, primarily to ensure adequate flight management and navigational skills. A Skycar is not piloted like a traditional fixed wing airplane and has only two hand-operated controls, which the pilot uses to inform the redundant computer control system of his or her desired flight maneuvers.
The FAA has established a “powered-lift” pilot’s license. This, together with a thorough familiarization with the flight controls of the Skycar, will be required for its safe operation, primarily to ensure adequate flight management and navigational skills. A Skycar is not piloted like traditional fixed or rotary wing aircraft. It has only two hand-operated controls that the pilot uses to direct the redundant computer control system to carry out his or her desired flight maneuvers.
The left hand controls a pressure sensitive pad with right and left segments (similar to a computer mouse). The degree of finger pressure on the right segment of the pad determines the rate of climb. When finger pressure ceases, rate of climb stops and is maintained by a radar altimeter. Finger pressure on the left segment determines rate of descent, except when the aircraft is very near the ground where descent rate is pre-programmed. The right hand operates a joystick for multi-modal directional and speed control. On the ground the stick provides directional steering (by twisting), braking (pull back) and acceleration (push forward).
After the Skycar takes off vertically, the right-hand-controlled stick provides all flight movement: speed and longitudinal direction are achieved by tilting the stick forward or backwards. Lateral movement in and near hover is achieved by tilting the stick sideways, which also provides banked turns during cruising flight. Directional control in and near hover is achieved by twisting the stick. Flight coordination is not needed since it is provided by the on-board flight control system (FCS).
The link below is to a general overview of the safety issues with VTOL aircraft, and in particular the Skycar 400: