July 30, 2013 - Monday afternoon, onlookers marveled as a car with Florida license plates and all took off, made its rounds, and landed flawlessly.
Many in attendance were left with stiff necks and the "what is that thing?" face that we see so often at AirVenture.
"That thing" was in fact the Maverick flying car, which has been FAA certified as E-LSA or E-AB and is also street legal as a kit car in most states.
The Maverick is a speed machine on the road, equipped with a 190-hp engine and able to reach 60 mph in less than four seconds.
Lift for the Maverick's flying comes from a parachute-like canopy held off the ground with a deployed mast; after landing the entire lift system stows away until needed.
Think of a powered parachute mated to an enclosed dune buggy and you've got it.
The airspeed is constant, at 40 mph, but with a full tank of fuel it can remain airborne for more than three hours.
The vehicle has integrated controls, meaning it "drives like a car" even when in flight. It has three seats and can hold a load of 450 pounds (so hopefully your third friend is skinny).
As much potential fun as the Maverick has, production manager and former farmer Steve Buer ensures that it is also a very helpful vehicle for many different fields of work.
The concept started as a vehicle to help deliver people and supplies to remote locales in developing nations, then took off.
So, in addition to its humanitarian and work roots, the Maverick has its recreational applications.
"It's very fun and light and off-road capable," Buer said, "but also very practical for the right person.
"Farmers and ranchers can use the machine to get a bird's-eye view of their crop and cattle, and law enforcement can use it because of its very high speeds in off-road environments."
Beyond Roads LLC has recently been granted manufacturing rights for the Maverick, making it possible to produce the vehicle at a more affordable cost.
The Maverick exhibit is located by the Homebuilts area just shy of the P1 taxiway at Booth 629.