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Skycar heads off on wing and prayer

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Magnificently eccentric adventurers in their flying car are hoping to travel 3,600 miles (6,000km) from London to Timbuktu on a wing, a prayer and boundless enthusiasm.

They will be piloting a Parajet Skycar, a dune buggy billed as "the world`s first road-legal biofuelled flying car" that engineer Giles Cardozo took just just 18 months to design and build.

Suspended beneath a paragliding wing and driven by a fan motor when in flight, it can take off in 200 metres, reach altitudes of up to 15,000 feet and cruise at 2,000-3,000 feet.

On the ground, independent four-wheel suspension made to cope with the toughest terrain is coupled to a top speed of 108mph (180 km/h) and a range of 240 miles (400km).

The group, led by Neil Laughton, is planning to travel through France, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mali, and aims to reach Timbuktu by February 20.

They will drive where there are roads and fly over obstacles such as rivers, seas and mountains with a support group of experienced adventurers - just in case.

© Press Association 2009