HistoryThe Story of Moller International
About Moller International
Moller International was founded in 1983 as a spin-off of Moller Corporation to continue to design, develop, manufacture and market personal vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL). The company has developed and integrated the disparate technologies required for small, powered-lift VTOL aircraft. These include electronic stabilization and control systems, efficient ducted fan designs, thrust vectoring mechanisms and aerodynamically stable composite airframe structures. The single most significant spin-off technology is the Rotapower engine, a Wankel rotary engine. This engine is now produced and marketed by Freedom Motors.
Our purpose is to develop and put into use personal transport vehicles that are as safe, efficient, affordable, and easy-to-use as automobiles. These would not be constrained by existing transportation networks, and will provide quick and convenient transport to any destination better than any alternative.
This vehicle should have a low environmental impact in terms of noise, emissions, and fuel consumption. Total costs of ownership over the life of the vehicle, including purchase price, operating costs and infrastructure costs should be reasonably low. This would be competing with such alternatives as personal or mass transport vehicles, general aviation, commercial air travel, and rail or motor vehicles.
Moller International had resided in a research park near the campus of UC Davis for over 35 years. A long-standing member of the Davis community, we were one of the first to move into the business park and had been in our building since 1982. Recently the company has made a strategic move to facilities in Dixon, just 10 minutes from the previous facility. At this time, the company is not offering tours of the new facility.
Paul S. Moller grew up on a rural chicken ranch in Southeastern British Columbia Canada near a town called Trail. At a very early age it became apparent that Paul had a natural ability and desire to engineer and construct things. When he was only 6 years old he began construction of his first house. His second was completed at age 9 and was a two-story - improving upon his first.
By the age of 11, the dream of flight had already taken him far along the path he would follow throughout his life. So, he built a Ferris Wheel which would enable him to simulate flight. Although the amazingly symmetrical, hand-crank ride was marvelously successful with the village children, Paul almost immediately saw the need for something more. What he wanted was not a TOY. He wanted a machine that would allow him to fly like a hummingbird and take him to places he had never been without constraints.
By the time Paul turned 15, he had built a sports car to get him from place to place. Though already successful his dream was unrealized. So undaunted, Paul designed his first helicopter and began its construction that same year. The helicopter, although it could provide him with the ability to imitate the hummingbird flight he sought, was clearly not an ideal flying machine for the general public. He recognized that the helicopter was expensive to operate and maintain. The open blade design is inherently dangerous and the skill required to pilot it provided reason enough to continue along his chosen path toward what is now Skycar.
Upon graduating from High School, Paul enrolled in Trade School. This three-year program in aircraft maintenance and engineering would provide the foundation for converting his dreams to reality. After graduating from Trade School, Paul accepted a job as a quasi-engineer at Canadair Aircraft Company in Montreal Canada. After moving to Montreal however, Paul's competitive streak got the best of him. He enrolled in three of the toughest graduate night courses he could find just to see how he would fare. He did reasonably well. He spent his days working on his 're-circulating ground effect machine' at the mini-lab in his apartment.
His work caught the attention of a world famous aeronautical professor at McGill University, Dr. Barry Newman, who offered him a fellowship to work with him and do graduate work. After completing his Masters and Ph.D. he began teaching at the University of California at Davis where he created the Aeronautical Engineering curriculum.