The flying car that crashed in a Vernon elementary school field last month will soar again.
Pilot Ray Siebring doesn’t have a flight date set just yet but he isn’t letting the May 10 accident at Ellison Elementary keep him grounded.
“We believe that it is worthwhile,” said the Kelowna pilot who brought the Maverick flying car off the ground through Aviation Education Initiative – a non-profit Siebring founded.
But before any engines are fired up, the car (fabricated with an aircraft engine and fabric wing) needs some significant repairs.
Approximately $30,000 worth.
“The significant damage was to the vehicle,” said Siebring, thankful he and his passenger only received minor injuries.
While his passenger was able to escape the crash on his own, Siebring is forever grateful to a Good Samaritan (one of the teachers at Ellison) who helped him out of the wreck.
“I just walked away from that, that’s amazing,” he said, recalling historic aviation attempts that many have not survived.
“There’s lots of failures in aviation.”
Siebring is also grateful for the fact that he and the AEI can learn from the mistakes of that May flight.
He knew something wasn’t right when they left the Vernon airport that day, which is why he tried to loop the Maverick back around to land back on the tarmac.
“Immediately on take-off we knew we had a problem.”
Through airport surveillance footage, film from two aviation publications and the footage from several on-board cameras, they have been able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong.
“We’re thankful the cameras were rolling,” said Siebring.
“The majority of the cause was a line tangle which deformed our wing,” he said, also noting an issue with the centre of gravity and turbulence.
“It’s the equivalent of someone taking a sledge hammer to your wing.”
Knowing what went wrong will assist the rebuild of the Maverick to ensure no such incidents occur again.
It’s a matter of time and money that will determine when Siebring will be back in the driver’s seat of the Maverick.
If it returns to Florida, where it was manufactured, it likely won’t be fixed until next year. But considering the vast amount of interest and conversations the “flying car” sparked, Siebring suggests there could be a better option.
“Ideally it would be great to get some community buy-in.”
For more information on the Maverick visit www.flyaei.com