Engineer Henry Smolinski had always dreamed of one thing after graduating from the Northrop Institute of Technology’s aeronautical engineering school, designing and building a flying car. After working for a few years for North American Aviation and Rocketdyne, he decided now was the perfect time to quit and follow his dream.
In 1973, his company Advanced Vehicle Engineers built two prototype vehicles called AVE Mizars. The design was the rear end of a Cessna Skymaster airplane attached, and could be detached, to a Ford Pinto. His creation seemed destined to be a success as plans were made to go into production in 1974 but sadly that wouldn’t be the case. On September 11, 1973 during a test flight, a wing strut detached mid-flight causing the vehicle to plummet to the ground killing not just Smolinski but his friend and business partner Harold Blake.