Jess Dixon Floating, It Appears, In A Flying Car (1936)

Jessie Earvin Dixon was a mid-century American inventor from Alabama who would appear to have designed a roadable helicopter. In the classic photo above, Dixon seems to be hovering above ground in his vehicle, though apart from this photo there are no test results extant. It’s hard to believe an invention of this magnitude wouldn’t have been a bigger deal if it truly worked, but perhaps it somehow fell through the cracks.

  • From a 1941 Mechanix Illustrated article that was posted on Modern Mechanix:

“This Helicopter-Car Flies Over Traffic!

JESS DIXON, of Andalusia, Ala., got tired of being tied up in traffic jams, so he designed and built this novel flying vehicle. It is a combination of automobile, helicopter, autogiro, and motorcycle. It has two large lifting rotos in a single head, revolving in opposite directions. It is powered by a 40 h.p. motor which is air-cooled. He claims his machine is capable of speeds up to 100 miles an hour.”

“1936 = Roadable helicopter. 1pOH; 40hp air-cooled engine. Coaxial rotor system with cyclic and collective pitch control. ‘Foot pedals actuated a hinged vane on the tail, counting on rotor downwash for yaw control.’ In a photo the helicopter is seen hovering, but no test results were found.”