What was the one wild dream you were crazy enough to pursue? In the case of former Philippine All Stars dancer Kyxz Mendiola, it was inventing a flying car.
Kyxz was in the news recently for breaking the existing Guinness World Record on the farthest hoverboard flight. Riding the version 2 of a hoverboard he first presented back in 2017, the 40-year-old inventor travelled 2,894 meters along the beach front of Subic Bay in Zambales. He beat the record set by French jet ski champ Franky Zapata in 2016, which was 2,352 meters.
Together with his business partner, technology firm Star 8 Green, Kyxz is currently preparing to mass produce the flying car and hoverboard he developed.
What’s amazing is that Kyxz is no engineer. He didn’t go into a college course related to building vehicles or aeronautics or other science-related discipline. He took up business administration thinking he might eventually run his father’s biz.
But he found school boring. “It was a waste of time and money putting me to school,” he tells ANCX. “I was too strong-headed.”
Buy one thing Kyxz knew he had is that curious ability to be successful in anything, as long he loves it and he invests time and effort in it. When he was younger, he found himself interested in gymnastics, so he pursued it and eventually made it to the training pool of the Philippine gymnastics team. He later found himself loving hip hop, so he cofounded the Philippine All Stars with his friends. The group won several times in the World Hip Hop Dance Championship and other international dance tilts.
It was during his stint as a dancer that he got exposed to filmmaking. He studied and learned the craft on his own, and eventually became a sought-after video operator for chase scenes and aerial shots in movies and TVCs.
But why invent a flying car?
A big fan of science fiction movies like “Star Trek” and “Back to the Future,” Kyxz started dreaming about building a flying car when he got exposed to the use of RC helicopter cars and drones in filming. “Nung nag-start ang drone technology, I saw its potential,” he tells ANCX.
He started building bigger drones that can carry bigger cameras—there was a demand for it and there were only a few companies making them. Realizing how stable and safe the drones could be, he started thinking of developing a drone aircraft that can carry a person.
Building a flying car was clearly not simple. Kyxz studied it for three years on his own. He read up on every subject related to it—from aeronautics engineering to space engineering, from structural engineering to the chemistry of batteries, magnets, wiring, etc. Google and YouTube became his best friends. “I would spend six hours a day studying. Whatever I’m doing—whether it be filming, doing a dance performance, every chance that I get, I’d be studying,” he recalls.
While studying the science behind flying cars, he was also saving up money for it. How much had he invested on his dream? “Siguro para akong nagpatayo ng bahay,” he tells ANCX laughing. “Andun na sa point na people think I was crazy.” He was doing the same thing over and over again without any result for six years.
The flight tests
But Kyxz continued anyway. He bought the necessary parts piece by piece, until such time that he had enough to build—not a car just yet, but a hoverboard drone multicopter. “Sabi ko, if I can make a small contraption that can carry me, I can test how strong it is. I wanted to learn the actual experience of the motors working and I, flying. I wanted to see if it will burn up, if I will die,” he says laughing.
His first flight turned out to be “a total failure.” After several failed tests, the persistent Kyxz was able to make an electric hoverboard that could float a few feet off the ground. At first, he held on to a bar to balance himself.
After a few months, he was able to test it in different locations, already feeling a bit like Marty McFly and Iron Man. His efforts did not go unnoticed. It caught the attention not only of the media but also of potential investors. Kyxz eventually signed with Star 8, his current business partner.
August 2018 saw the launch of the dancer-turned-inventor’s drone sports car dubbed Koncepto Millenya. The said electric manned aerial vehicle (EMAV) can fly as high as 20 ft. and on a speed of up to 60 kph.
Kyxz admits there were no plans of mass producing the hoverboard initially. It was just going to be a stepping stone to make the flying car. But since it made such an impact after the launch of the version 2, developing and selling it are now included in his and Star 8’s plans. “Siguro we can start figuring out mass production next year. Everything really slowed down because of Covid,” he says.
Kyxz says resort and real estate owners have been inquiring about the inventions. “With the hoverboard and the one-seater flying car, they’d be able to fly around their resort, or do their own personal land surveillance if they have a big land,” he says. The two- and four-seater flying cars, on the other hand, can be used as an electric air taxi.
He’s close to making his flying cars available for commercial consumption. Who knew his crazy dream could come true? “I kept failing but I never stopped,” he says. “You really have to develop a stamina for failure for you to succeed and that’s what happened to me. I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing.” And now he’s flying.