The Beginning - 1970
From the earliest newspaper articles in 1970 where Henry Smolinski started to share his idea with the world to it's unfortunate end in 1973 with the crash of the AVE Mizar Flying Pinto. I have gathered as much information as I can in hopes of telling the most complete story possible of this fantastic idea, concept and implementation of a dream.
Advanced Vehicle Engineers was founded in 1968 By Henry Smolinski, a graduate of Northrop Institute of Technology's aeronautical engineering school. His aeronautical career began in 1953 when he joined North American Aviation as a structural engineer working with jet engine and aircraft design. In 1959, he joined Rocketdyne as a project engineer, assigned to missile development and aerospace programs.
In July of 1970 Henry Smolinski, engineer and president of Advanced Vehicle Engineers Co. based in Van Nuys, California, was ready to present his idea to the world. The concept seems simple, attach the rear half of a Cessna Skymaster to any one of a number of specialty outfitted consumer vehicles. A Pontiac Firebird may be winging over the San Fernando Valley before the end of this year while its assembly line brothers crawl along the clogged freeways.
May 1973 the Flying Pinto is Unveiled! A Ford Pinto with wings was unveiled at the Suburban Val Nuys Airport. The Research vehicle, called the AVE Mizar, is designed for door-to-door highway-skyway travel, AVE president Henry Smolinski said Tuesday. The car's engine is used for surface travel and runway boost on takeoff. In flight, the combination craft depends on Skymaster wings, a twin-boom tail configuation and pusher propeller. The flight equipment is detachable to allow street travel.
Bert Boeckmann of Galpin Ford in Sepulveda, California had joined the team. After acquiring the rights to be the national distributor for the AVE Mizar plans were underway to establish dealerships through the United States.
Then comes September 11th, 1973 that fatal day and end to a dream.. a wing folds and the Flying Pinto crashes. Killed in the crash are Henry Smolinski, and his passenger, Harold (Hal) Blake, president and vice president respectively of Advanced Vehicle Engineers, Van Nuys, the developers of the AVE Mizar.
January 2009 and Pintony finds the "Flying Pinto 2" as seen in the promotional video produced for Gaplin Ford. It never had wings attached or flight gear but it is the only surviving piece of history which is the AVE Mizar Flying Pinto.
April 2009 Pintony's find, The AVE Mizar Flying Pinto 2, makes it to the 2009 Knott's Berry Farms Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show.
If anyone has more information they would like to share, a story to tell, pictures like the one taken by Doug Duncan... I would be happy to add it to the histoy..