Flying car crashes and burns in Florida

Police in Marion County say two people were hurt after a Maverick flying car crashed and caught fire.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

The Maverick was designed to access remote areas for missionary work. ItecUSAvideo/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Two people have minor injuries after a Maverick flying car that took off from Dunnellon airport in central Florida crashed back down and caught fire Tuesday morning, police say.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office issued a statement posted to Facebook that read: "The NTSB and FAA will not be responding because they do not recognize this as an aircraft."

The flying car did, though, reportedly have an FAA registry number.

The Maverick, which retails for $94,000 (50 percent downpayment required), was designed by a nonprofit called the Indigenous Peoples' Technology and Education Center. Its mission is to "provide tools and technologies to God-followers in frontiers areas to meet their needs."

One of its developers, Troy Townsend, described in a YouTube video posted a few weeks ago how the Maverick -- which flies with the aid of a parachute -- had been to various shows over the summer to display its capabilities.

In today's incident, the two people on board have not been named. However, this isn't the first time the Maverick has crashed.

In May of last year, it reportedly crashed into an elementary schoolyard in Vernon, British Columbia. A report at the time also said that two men suffered minor injuries.

I-Tec sent me this statement on Wednesday: "The Pilot and passenger were transported to a local medical facility for evaluation and are recovering well. The first flight of the morning was completed by a South American humanitarian pilot planning to use the Maverick for the benefit of isolated tribes deep in the Amazon jungle in villages without airstrips.

This was followed by a short orientation flight by the BEYOND ROADS chief pilot, Troy Townsend. For, reason or reasons that we have not yet identified, the Maverick descended to the ground shortly after take off. The Maverick structure and high tech suspension limited the pilot and passenger injuries but a fuel line ruptured upon impact. The ensuing fire destroyed the Maverick, valued at $100,000.

What we do know is that there was no major systems failure in the vehicle or in the drive system. This has been verified by a number of knowledgeable eyewitnesses, including the ground crew, in addition to video footage shot by the observers.

We also know that this unfortunate accident does not reduce the need of isolated peoples around the world for a multi-medium vehicle like the Maverick."

Updated at 9:17 a.m. PT on October 22 with statement from I-Tec.