The Flying Car That Got Shelved Because the Pilot Let It Run Out of Gas

The Convair Model 118 was a prototype flying car intended for mainstream consumers. Only two prototypes were built and flown. The car consisted of a 2-seat car body powered by a rear-mounted 26hp engine, with detachable monoplane wings and tail, fitted with their own tractor configuration 90hp Franklin 4A4 engine driving a 2-bladed wooden propeller. Test pilot Reuben Snodgrass flew the prototype for the first time on Nov. 15, 1947. While on a 1-hour demonstration flight, it made a low fuel forced landing near San Diego, Calif., destroying the car body and damaging the wing. The pilot, who escaped with minor injuries, reportedly took off with little or no aviation fuel onboard. Although the fuel gauge he had visually checked during the pre-flight check indicated the tank was full, it was the automobile’s fuel gauge he had mistakenly checked, not the airplane’s fuel gauge. The Model 118 never achieved production status.