This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 9, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Ever wanted your very own personal flying machine? Well, if you do, you will have your chance this Friday when this one person scooter, it's named the Solotrek XFV, that's me trying it out, no, only kidding, will debut on eBay with a starting bid of $50,000. There's one twist though, the new owner will not be able to fly it. Why not? Let's ask Michael Moshier, he's the chief executive of Trek Aerospace, the company behind the flying machine. He joins us now from Mountain View, California.
Good to have you sir.
MICHAEL MOSHIER, CEO, TREK AEROSPACE: Hello, Neil, how are you doing?
CAVUTO: Good. Why can't, if I buy this, fly this?
MOSHIER: Neil, we hope to sell it to an auction house basically, a museum, and it is important that we find good home for the vehicle. The liability concern with the product, if anybody tried to fly it would be immense. So we want to be very careful that it's used strictly for exhibition purposes and our educational purposes.
CAVUTO: Yeah, but if I wanted to buy this, if someone wanted to buy this, and you couldn't actually use it, I mean, it would make a close hanger. So what's the big deal?
MOSHIER: Well, Neil, the aircraft is still in development. We are seven years into a development program right now.
CAVUTO: Yeah, but this dude is flying - this guy is flying around just fine, it looks bizarre but he's doing OK. So, obviously it works; right?
MOSHIER: That is correct, that is our first proof-of-concept prototype. And the first flight was achieved about a year ago in December. We actually retired that aircraft last summer. We are currently flying our second-generation prototype.
CAVUTO: How is it powered?
MOSHIER: It uses a small internal combustion engine. And we are actually the developing a small turbine engine to replace that in the near future.
CAVUTO: Well, this wire that I'm seeing coming from on top of it, and what is the deal with that? where is that connected or is it a wire? what is it?
MOSHIER: What you are looking at are a couple of safety tethers. And there is also a data umbilical attached at the bottom. During our flight test.
CAVUTO: But that thing is flying itself, in other words, it's not as if it's being lifted by something?
MOSHIER: Yes. Those tethers have absolutely no effect on the machine. It is flying under its own power, and controlled by itself, that is correct.
CAVUTO: This was originally designed by the military; right?
MOSHIER: No, sir. We actually designed this ourselves. Again, the project started about seven years ago. But our first customers looked like they were going to be the military, the Army, the Marines, Special Forces.
CAVUTO: And what would be the use of something like this?
MOSHIER: You know, there are a lot of uses, ranging from search-and- rescue to reconnaissance, surveillance, just getting troops from point A to point B. It's got a lot of applications we believe.
CAVUTO: I like it for what it could mean in New York City traffic, but that's another point. Now, if this got more mainstream, who would buy it?
MOSHIER: Well, we are looking at different markets and different phases. And it's going to be a long-term program. Again, initially, we see the military being our markets. After that, we would all like to have one of these. And we would look forward to it being introduced into the commercial population. But that is going to be downstream a ways.
CAVUTO: So, if this were to make it big, it would make it big first in the military; right? It would have military applications and any potential consumer applications after that are years off?
MOSHIER: Yes, sir. That is what we believe.
CAVUTO: All right. Are you a publicly-traded company?
MOSHIER: No, we are a private company, we are 10 people strong, very small company.
CAVUTO: Ten people came up with this. Are you are looking to go public?
MOSHIER: Eventually, who knows? It is not really on the platter right now, but we are just taking it a step at a time.
CAVUTO: Who is the guy we are watch doing this right now? That is brave soul right there. Is that you or is that someone else?
MOSHIER: It is. I'm one of three pilots that have flown the machine.
CAVUTO: Really. How high and far did you go?
MOSHIER: Well, the standard answer is we have not flown it any higher than we are willing to fall for obvious reasons.
CAVUTO: You have actually taken this baby for a ride.
MOSHIER: Yes. About five feet is the maximum altitude we have gotten to date.
CAVUTO: All right. But the potential is like a George Jetson kind of a thing; right? This could be big; right?
MOSHIER: Certainly. It could go up to 18,000 feet. It gets mighty cold up there, but the applications really.
CAVUTO: Wow, 18,000 feet? Wow.
MOSHIER: Really what you want to do is get up above the trees and power lines and go from point A to point B. No real reason to climb high.
CAVUTO: My first order of business, get above trees. Michael Moshier, thank you very much, good seeing you.
MOSHIER: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: The CEO of Trek Aerospace. Pretty neat stuff.
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