back to article Flying cars on the horizon, says Clive Sinclair

Sir Clive Sinclair yesterday pretty well put the kibosh on the possibility of humanity ever getting behind the controls of a flying car by declaring them "technically entirely possible". Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Sir Clive said the future of personal transportation would, of course, have to be electric-powered, …


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  1. David Haig
    Black Helicopters

    RAF R&D outsourced ....

    To Sinclair Research. On the day the new Typhoon is announced, the project to find the next generation of fighter aircraft is awarded to Sir Clive 'Blue Sky' Sinclair.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    I fear the future of transport is horse-drawn...

  3. Kenneth Ross

    It had to be, hadn't it. A C5 with wings!

    I read the headline. I thought of the comment. I scrolled down the article. I saw the picture.

    And now I know. The Register are in league with Echelon, black helicopters and every other conspiracy out there.


  4. Anonymous Coward


    Half the drivers on the road have enough difficulty coping with what is in font of them and behind them.

    Now we're going to give them the added burden of having to worry about what is above and below them?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Bloody slaphead

    Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand the bloke. He personifies everything that was ever wrong with the British electronics industry and I'm not just talking about the C5.

    Everything he ever made was over-hyped shoddy tat. Remember the Black Watch? One of the first digital watches, except the batteries lasted about 10 days and it couldn't tell the time properly.

    And they gave him a knighthood.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Would love one myself but...

    Won't work.

    Imagine the airspace above home county town centres on a Friday night, full of 'ladz' (tm), buzzing around in the sky in their souped up Citroen Spitfire GTIs.

    Or commuting traffic full of BMW Fokkers. (Not much change there)

    Or school run mums landing on top of each other at the school launch pad with their Honda VTOLs

    On the plus side, we could all grow handlebar moustaches and start saying stuff like 'Chocks away', 'Tally Ho' and 'Back to Blightly' again...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nurse, nurse .....!

    Sir Clive's escaped again. Bring the zip-up tartan booties with the straps on the back !

  8. Gordon Pryra

    "he steered clear of "mechanical and technical things"

    Which is why he has "invented" something that a million other people have also "invented"

    Any why his stuff is so shite.

    he should have stuck to the specky

  9. Steven Raith

    Flying C5 - potential problem

    Birdstrikes could be an issue without a full on canopy methinks - best be careful out there.

    Steven R

  10. breakfast Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thank goodness for that...

    Aside from the fact they are awesome flying cars are a terrible idea- look how much trouble we have on the roads and that's only working in two dimensions. Until the majority of people cease to be halfwits, flying cars will never be viable.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the photo!

    Is Sir Clive really saying that we're facing a future where chavs in airborne Vauxhall Novas go zooming around?

    Time to ask my American friends to teach me how to handle shotguns, rocket launchers, et cetera. If some quarterwit is going to buzz me then I'm entitled to defend myself. With large calibre ordonance.

    The photo is awesome and nearly had me choking on my tea. Thanks for cheering up a dull morning!

  12. Torben Mogensen


    One problem with electric flying cars is that batteries are heavy. So there would be need for a radical improvement in battery technology to make such a concept viable. Alternatively, more efficient fuel cells would have to be developed.

    But electric motors do have one major advantage: They are fairly light themselves when compared to combustion engines. This will not fully compensate for added "fuel" weight, though.

  13. Kenny Millar

    The C5 - what's in a name?

    CLive Sinclair (before he became, Sir Clive) was really into the Zilog Z80 processor family - all his little, er, 'computers', were based on it.

    In Z80 Assembly language, C5 was PUSH BC, which could be construed as 'Push ByCycle' if you take a mental squint at it. However, I prefer to think that it was simply his initials, in that 1980's sort of computer font C5 would have looked almost exactly like CS.

    Mine is the one with the big furry hood.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    So what does he use to blur the mind?

    Whatever it is, it's pretty effective.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    If its anything like the C5 ?

    It will fly at 30mph and get sucked into most 747 engines without the pilots even noticing anything.

  16. Darren B

    Permission to use of "bullseye"?

    Watch out the RAF will be slapping a lawsuit on your ass.

  17. John Woodhouse

    Its clear he doesnt use the net..

    otherwise he would have been more likely to have know about the Skycar

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The Alan Sugar of his time

    Interesting ideas, mostly crap products, but at the end of the day, what was the point of either of them?

  19. Graham Marsden
    IT Angle

    El Reg may be sued by RAF for violating intellectual property rights!

    'the air force holds roundel rights only for "non clothing items"'

    Better take that RAF roundel off the wing PDQ...

  20. David Adams
    Black Helicopters

    RE: Flying C5 - potential problem

    With the speed of the C5, Bird strikes won't be a problem, you'll have plenty of time to get out of their way.

    Pigeons laughing at you might be embarrassing though.

  21. Ralph B
    Black Helicopters

    Missing detail

    The pic is missing the mains cable.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sir Clive Sinclair yesterday pretty well put the kibosh

    Nah... That happens when a prototype appears on Tomorrow's World.

  23. gwildfire

    2009 Cars in the Sky

    Anyone read this one in the past? looks like someone is already ahead of the game

  24. Gilbert Wham

    Hang on...

    "The vehicle would take off from your home and fly to wherever you want to go."

    That's called a 'helicopter'. I've seen those. You can buy them and everything.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Captain Jamie

    "If some quarterwit is going to buzz me then I'm entitled to defend myself. With large calibre ordonance"

    Would that be ordinance?


  26. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Clive....

    You wowed us with the LED wristwatch, the ZX80, ZX81 and of course the Speccy....then "that" was released and you became just another eccentric, millionaire British inventor who appeared to have finally flipped his lid. Sorry Clive old son, but no-one's gonna listen anymore...unless you get James Dyson to build it for you of course!

  27. David

    Flying T-Bird

    I watched a movie `The AbsentMinded Professor` once and he invented a flying car. He used a revolutionary substance which he invented called Flubber. I think this Flubber stuff is the way forward.

    Why has no-one harnessed its power? He invented it in 1961. Robin Williams also more recently discovered it. Only Robins dances around and stuff.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Whoah there Clive.......

    The wonders of electric cars, flying or not, forever seem to cover up the truth about them - they're no more eco friendly than the trusty combustion engine.

    If we all go "Electric", where do we get the 'juice' from? From coal fired/oil fired/gas fired (or worse still) neuclear powerstations. Yeah, that makes real eco-sense....NOT!

    Maybe we'll all have little windmills mounted on the bonnets? Hey, what about those dumb looking hats with the helicopter blades on them? Maybe Sir Clive could programme one to take us wherever we want???

    ... and no - I'm not a tree-hugger, just well and truly pissed off with all these "lets be green and have an electric car" types. And as for fuel cells - oh sure, pumps out H2O at the back end, but how much power did it take to actually charge the cell in the first place, never mind build the vehicle....

    The only true eco friendly power source for cars is either to WALK, CYCLE or if you must have 4 wheels; go solar powered.

    grump grump grump, moan moan moan.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the Paris Hilton angle is?

    And the Paris Hilton angle is?

  30. Geoff Mackenzie

    Sinclair C5

    The C5 was so close to being a success story it's unbelievable. Just a few minor adjustments: make it taller and narrower, using two wheels arranged one in front of the other. Add a reasonable source of motive power and you've got the Honda CG125, whose popularity worldwide speaks for itself I think.

    If Clive calls the flying machine Spectrum, it'll succeed for no good reason. Otherwise it'll sink like a stone. That's my prediction, as a futurologist.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Re: @ Captain Jamie By Anonymous Coward


    1. an authoritative rule or law; a decree or command.

    2. a public injunction or regulation: a city ordinance against excessive horn blowing. (ooh err)

    3. something believed to have been ordained, as by a deity or destiny.

    4. Ecclesiastical.

    a. an established rite or ceremony.

    b. a sacrament.

    c. the communion.


    1. cannon or artillery.

    2. military weapons with their equipment, ammunition, etc.

    3. the branch of an army that procures, stores, and issues, weapons, munitions, and combat vehicles and maintains arsenals for their development and testing.

    You're both 1/8 wits.

    But then you never managed to build a (working) ZX81 from the kit, did you?

  32. Joe

    Why all the hate?

    I always had a soft spot for Uncle Clive, what's wrong with a little craziness sometimes? :D

    I bet you all had C64s. Or BBCs! :P

    @ Kenny Millar - I think you're drawing parallels where there are none!

  33. Brian Miller

    C-5, A-Bike, .... flying car?

    The only way that a flying car is realistically feasible if its something like the Ohio Airships Dynalifter, which is a dirigible that requires propulsion to get off the ground. Gasoline costs $10/gallon in the UK (and coming up on $5/gal here), so the only thing that is going to happen is everybody can tie a balloon to their bicycle, and pedal really fast.

    (Actually, I have an A-Bike, and its the best conversation starter ever invented. Now if only I could pick up hot chicks with it...)

  34. A

    Actually I think he might be right.

    We already have (unmanned) high altitude endurance aircraft that use solar power as their main power source; and with a number of the recent nanotech breakthroughs promising 10x more power from the same size solar panel I think it's not unreasonable to expect that we could see solar powered personal "aircraft" in the next 10-15 years.

    As for the piloting, he's already said "fully automatic"; so other than the usual issues involving defective IT projects that's covered too.

    I think he could be on the money this time!

    As for those of you who can't see the difference between Sinclair and Sugar... Hint, one is an inventor and scientist, the other is a pile it high sell it cheap uber-salesman.

  35. James Anderson
    Thumb Down


    Did Clive ever really invent anything?

    His one succesful product the zx80 and Spectrum computers were hardly original. The TRS80 was available 3 years before anything from Sinclair.

    He was first with the "pocket" calculator, but calcualtors were steadily shriking in size -- and it had seriously limited functionality compared with the HP-35 launched a few months later. (Texas Instraments holds the first patent on hand held calculators).

    The crappy "Black Watch" came out a full five years after the first digital watch.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Anyone who insulates himself from current technology... all the more likely to hit on the next quantum leap,so don't write off a man who eschews participation the Internet hive mind.

    If Einstein had attended properly to the new, improved cuckoo clock designs crossing his desk at the Swiss Patent Office, he wouldn't have had time to dream of looking at his image in the mirror while travelling at the speed of light.

    As for practical personal flying cars, an elite group of Hollywood scribblers have had them for years (I refer, of course, to the famous Ghost Writers in the Sky).

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Joe - the hate

    Well it might seem irrational but seriously, the American, Japanese and Korean electronics industries weren't headed by people who you needed to "have a soft spot for".

    Instead, they made products that actually worked and that people wanted to buy. Then by and large they used the profits from these and invested them in the next generation - and so on.

    Which is why they have electronics industries and we, broadly speaking, don't.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The Sinclair Black Watch

    For those who are too young to remember this marvel of electronic engineering, here is a dispassionate account of this wonder-product:

    Paris - because she ought to watch it...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ the two ACs

    Whilst I'm not qualified to handle an ATR or other kind of BFG I am qualified to teach archery and am rather good with a bow and arrow. Until New Labour outlaw that as well.

    1/8 wit? If I can survive bombings, critical illnesses and riots to name but three then I'd rather have my 1/8 than your perceived full compliment any day.

  40. pctechxp

    Womder whata flying C5 would sound like

    Maybe like the loading screen on a spectrum.

    screech buzz bump

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