The Beginning - 1970
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. He believed a flying car was possible. The idea was to have many different automobiles equipped with wings. On July 29th the first newspaper articles I could find started to appear across the country. While history knows of the AVE Mizar as the "Flying Pinto" it wasn't always so. In the beginning a different automobile was to be used as their first flying car...
From: The Tucson Daily Citizen in Arizona - July 29th, 1970
Wings-If All Goes Well
VAN NUYS, Calif. (UPI) - 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.
The Advanced Vehicle Engineers Co., based here, announced plans for a "flying automobile" which would utilize an airplane frame and engine that could be attached to a modified standard automobile.
It plans to make a test flight with the Pontiac Firebird before the end of the year.
Henry Smolinski, engineer-president of the firm, said all Detroit would have to do is modify the dash board slightly to allow for air instruments and make some minor adjustments in the roof so the airframe could be attached.
The plan is to make it possible for anyone to convert his automobile into a flying car by merely backing into the air frame, then snapping the pieces together.
When the car is backed into the airframe, according to Smolinski, "four pins are inserted to lock the two and at the same time convert the car's standard steering wheel into an aircraft control. Rudder pedals snap into position beneath the driver-pilot side of the vehicle.
"Then, with the insertion of two more pins holding struts from the wing to either side of the car, the aircar will be ready to fly."
The airframe will consist of the wings, the rear pusher engine mount, the twin tail booms and the control surfaces of a Cessna Skymaster, fitted on the standard automobile.
September of 1970 people were still talking and more details were becoming available...
From: The Anniston Star in Alabama - September 20, 1970
STAR-Los Angeles Times Service
VAN NUYS, Calif. - Have you ever wished that your Mustang or your Camaro - or even your Volkswagen - could fly?
Perhaps it can!
At least there's a firm in Van Nuys that says standard cars can be modified somewhat - fitted with wings, tail surfaces and a propeller engine - and fly like any airplane.
In fact, Advanced Vehicle Engineers (AVE) proposes to testfly a Pontiac Firebird before the end of the year as the first aircar.
The idea, now in the preliminary design stage, is to integrate a conventional automobile with a certified airframe and engine and thus succeed where other flying cars have failed over the years.
"Invariably," explained Henry Smolinski, engineer-president of AVE, "flying cars have emphasized the airborne portion and neglected the car with vehicles that were unsuitable for road use."
"We intend to use the wings, the rear (pusher) engine mount, the twin tail booms and the control surfaces of a Cessna Skymaster," he said, "and fit them to a dozen modern cars."
The car would take the place of the Skymaster's cabin and forward propeller engine, he said, and the airplane's pusher engine (aft between the tail booms) would be replaced with an engine of greater power, a turboprop in intermediate and luxury models.
"Our plan," Smolinski continued, "is to make the operation so simple that a woman can easily put the two systems together - or separate them - without help."
Cost? Some $40,000 to $50,000 for the initial flying Firebird, later about $15,000 at full production, divided roughly $4,000 for the car, $5,500 for the air engine and $5,000 for the air frame.
At a recent press conference on the aircar however, the room was full of skeptics and some technical questions were not fully answered.
The aircar people acknowledged there are problems. "But we feel we have the answers," they said.