Al Marsh

An airplane for a clunker?

September 1, 2009 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

In the `70s a California Ford dealer (still in business today) offered a Flying Pinto that had only one problem; it wasn’t fully developed yet. It needed a bracing strut across the bottom of the car, linking the two wing struts. A wing later came off the car used for this 1970s video , killing the pilot and the inventor, but another Pinto prepped to fly remains with the dealer. Some people doubt that the Pinto actually is flying in the video. The video runs 10 minutes, so if you are short of time move the slider to these time spots: between minute 5 and minute 6 you will see a complete description of the Mizar Flying Pinto; at time 7:27 you will learn that an option is a parachute to float car and wings to the ground. Those are the highlights. Backing up a bit, at time 3:05 you will see how frustrated the pilot is with an airplane that can’t convert to a car. At time 2:11 you will notice that when the wife flies with her husband and family, she always knits. At time 1:34 you will learn that there are 1.5 million pilots, or about double the total today. (There’s no sound until 26 seconds into the video.)

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7 Responses to “An airplane for a clunker?”

  1. Van Morrison Says:

    Looks like a Cessna Skymaster without an engine on the front. Impressive looking. Really sad about the inflight failure.

  2. Mike Mayor Says:

    I think this was used in the James Bond moive “Man With The Golden Gun”

  3. Paul Nadas, CFI Says:

    Wow! Remember the ‘Amphicar?’ – part boat, part car? I actually saw one of these in action on the water back in the seventies. I suspect the problem with the Mizar was similar to the problem with the Amphicar. In the latter’s case it was neither an outstanding vehicle for the road nor an adequate practical boat. The Mizar would arguably be neither a great car (the Pinto?! Case closed!!) nor a decent aircraft. However…a truly worthy effort, given the times, and a total surprise to me, as I had never even heard of it. Thanks for this. It’s always a treat to learn of something quirky and ‘forgotten’ from aviation’s storied past. Yes…too bad about the inflight failure and the consequent loss of life.

  4. Marq Gunderson Says:

    The car in the Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was an AMC Matador. I believe AMC had the car contract for that movie, as the car that was rolled while doing the jump over the river was an AMC Hornet. The inflight video of the Matador was done with a model, as the real thing was not airworthy, IIRC.

  5. Jim Bremer Says:

    Van Morrison (the singer?) has a good eye. Doing a little research, I found a website that says that the rear end was indeed the back half of a Skymaster. On a related note, I had a chance to see an Aerocar on the ground and in the air at the Golden West EAA Fly-in a few months ago. Interesting vehicle.

  6. Pintony Says:

    If you watch the video closely, you will notice that the flying Pinto is a trunk model and the driving Pinto is a hatch back.
    There are 2 Pintos in the sept 73 Hot Rod magazine.
    I own the other Pinto in the video and the mag article.
    from Pintony

  7. Linda Smock Says:

    Yes it really did fly. It was my fathers invention. My brother Alan went up with him alot. He even went up at night. That video is not the only video made. The little kid in the video is Henry Jr. The Flying Car as my dad called it. Never did fly over the ocean. Thanks Linda

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