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Flying cars on the horizon?

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HARBOR CITY, CA — Aviation engineer Dr. Paul Moller said his dream of flying “Skycars” is about to come true, thanks to a business joint venture announced Thursday.

Athena Technologies, of Harbor City, California signed an agreement with Miller International to create a joint venture project to build the aircraft in the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China.

Moller said the initial investment will be $80 million — part of a total planned investment of $480 million in both countries.

“We’ve never had a significant amount of capital at any one time,” Moller said. “It’s absolutely the biggest thing we’ve had happen.”

Moller has been working on designs and applications of vertical take-off and landing (VOLT) aircraft since the 1960s.

His last full-scale, public flight test was in 1989.

“The thing which has always held me back, aside from capital, is the availability of an engine — a power plant with unique capability,” he said. “It’s taken us decades to develop the kind of engines that have the power in the palm of your hand to power a car like these.”

Moller said the first production models will be a two-passenger Skycar and a smaller, low-flying utility craft, which should be finished in 2014.

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