Gary Moore was a Marine fighter pilot in the late ’70s, taking part in multiple flight missions.
Flying remains a passion for the Fairfield Glade resident, who owns a private plane, and in the near future, will follow in the tradition of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and Harry Potter by piloting a craft that can travel on land and in the air.
Moore, 70, grew up in Atlanta and pursued graduate degrees at Georgia Tech and Georgia State after graduating from Furman University with an undergraduate degree in biomechanics.
He and his wife have lived in Fairfield Glade for a dozen years.
Following graduation from Furman, Moore joined the Marines and became a fighter pilot.
As an officer, he flew an F-4 Phantom jet. Although he didn’t engage in wartime combat, he did take part in some sensitive missions. He escorted Russian bombers that had invaded neutral airspace from the North Pole as part of the North American Air Defense Command. He also flew missions that provided air protection for Cuban refugees as they attempted dangerous water crossings to Florida during the 1970s.
After six and a half years, Moore left the Marines as a captain.
“I wanted to go back to school and on to other things,” Moore said. “We parted as friends.”
It was around the time Moore moved to Fairfield Glade he started following the work online of award winning architect Sam Bousfield in California designing a flying car.
He eventually contacted Bousfield and learned more about the project.
That led to Moore, with his background in aviation and technical writing, offering to edit instruction and user manuals for the craft and, four years ago, preordering one of them.
He’s No. 54 on the waiting list and expects to receive it in about a year.
“It’ll be a lot of fun,” said Moore, who owns and pilots a four-seater plane. “I’ll be able to go to different air shows and to the airport without having to rent a car.”
Moore said the 4-foot wide car, named the Switchblade, has one wheel in the front and two in the rear and looks like a three-wheeled Ferrari.
The 8-foot tail for the plane unfolds in the back, while the 28-foot wings come out from under the car.
Pushing a button transforms the car into a two-seater plane.
The car has excellent acceleration, Moore said, and can go over 100 mph.
The plane, featuring a glass cockpit, has a cruising speed of 200 mph and can fly up to an estimated 13,000 feet.
The Switchblade is priced at $150,000 and comes in a kit.
Buyers can choose the “fast building” option and have assistance with the assembly or do it on their own. Moore is opting for the latter option.
There are other flying cars operating in the world, one of which is in Poland and has a helicopter type design. Moore said he favors the Switchblade over other models.
“In my opinion, it has the best design,” Moore said. “They went to extraordinary extremes to make it safe. The plane will have a parachute. They’ve done a very nice job. Everything’s custom made.”