Flying car starts trip to Timbuktu

In what they dub "the world's first road-legal biofuelled flying car", a team of adventurers have launched an expedition from London to Timbuktu.

The Parajet Skycar will take the group, led by adventurer Neil Laughton, on the 6,000km (3,600-mile) journey by land and air.

Engineer Giles Cardozo designed the vehicle in just 18 months to be driven where there are roads, and to fly over the Straits of Gibraltar, the Atlas mountains in Morocco and the trackless wastes of the Empty Quarter of the Sahara.

The group will travel through France, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mali after taking off from the capital on Wednesday, aiming to reach Timbuktu on February 20.

Another group of thrill seekers are supporting the expedition and will follow the Skycar on the ground in all-terrain vehicles and on motorbikes.

It works with a powerful fan which propels the car forward and the lift from the "ParaWing" to allow the Skycar to take off from any field or airstrip 200m or more in length.

In just three minutes the vehicle can change from ground to flying mode, it can reach altitudes of up to 15,000 feet, on the ground it has a range of 400km (240 miles), top speed of 180 km/h (108mph) and can cope with the toughest terrain.

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