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A Viable Flying Car At Last?

I’ve been following these guys for a few years:

Are we getting close?

Close to having a viable flying car? Yup, but only for the limited few that can afford it and can get the sport light license. I couldn’t anyway, I couldn’t pass the physical.

Close to flying cars being commonplace? I don’t see it in my lifetime. By nature, they’ll continue to be expensive to buy and to maintain, and the FAA licensure requirements will limit their access to much of the aging population.

It’s been on the news here in NH and MA a couple times in the past few years.

I can’t imagine a ‘viable’ flying car. One mechanical problem in a crowded area, multiple fatalities…

But it is a ‘viable’ way to get $30M to flush down the ‘flying car’ drain…

As long as the $30M is Venture Capital and not tax dollars, I applaud the work.

I would agree that when the “first adopters” are gone, it’ll be tough finding a steady customer stream.

I could be wrong, but I just don’t see even a whole lot of “first adopters” for the Terrafugia. For the money you can get a very nice brand new Cessna 182, which will fly circles around the flying car. Is it really that big of a deal to get out of your airplane and into a car when you land?

Considering that the flying car will still be required to land at an airport, you aren’t really going to have any significant time advantages, especially considering how slow the Terrafugia flies vs run-of-the-mill private aircraft.

I see a small design flaw on the Terrafugia. The wings have an electrical or hydraulic motor to fold them in or out but the side view mirrors have to be pushed in by hand. Once they get that corrected…I might be interested in one. Details…details.

I was simply referring to the 100 customers that have pre-ordered the thing according to the article. I have to agree, that is certainly not “a whole lot.”

I see this as very analogous to automobiles that preceded the Model T. It’ll be a playtoy of the wealthy unless someone finds a way to make it affordable.

Perhaps it’ll find a niche somewhere in the world market. Much of the world is still covered by remote areas where this (or some variation thereof) might be the perfect solution for transportation.

Even if it was free one still needs a pilot’s license, no easy task. And, as noted, one still is limited to existing runways.

The ‘pie in the sky’ version (vertical takeoff, computer control, etc) doesn’t exist today, and won’t for several years.

Another in a long line of “flying cars” proposed and then disappear? Remember the Moller Skycar? The Urban Aeronautics X Hawk? and who can forget the Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep? Airplanes mated with cars do neither justice. An airplane that can pass NHTSA crash tests will be too heavy to fly! Any car that can get FAA approval will be far to expensive to build. That is $30M better spent at the roulette wheel, IMHO. The odds are better.

I had visions in my youth of flying the 50 miles to work instead of driving. But then where would I land? The State Patrol doesn’t appreciate landing on the freeway. Something to wonder about on the drive anyway. I think I’ll pass on this one though and wouldn’t advise buying the stock yet.

$280K for an airplane with folding wings so you can drive it home from the airport and keep it in a standard garage at home, avoiding airport hanger and tie-down charges…Now, of course, collision insurance might be a little expensive…Those wings look pretty tender in a fender-bender…

Here’s the competition in the LSA category:

Scroll down the list and look at the prices (in alphabetical order; Terafugia is near the bottom). OUCH! That’s a tough price premium to overcome. You’re in Cessna 172 territory.

At that price, I’d rather have an Black Series SLS AMG coupe for Mercedes Benz.

Glad I wasn’t eating, I’d be cleaning off my screen. 2X the others? Yikes!

My guess is that the target market for this already has a Black Series AMG… or something similar if they choose. This is clearly a rich man’s toy.

I like it. But I have no illusions that it’d be practical. At least not in my garage.

Tonight’s Wheeler Dealers was on topic, almost - they bought an AmphiCar, the terribly compromised car/boat that is now selling for crazy $$. They found their clean looking example basically steel Swiss cheese, leaking holes all over it.

Just an example of how multi-function many times means little function…

A guy in the lakes region of NH has a fully restored one of those. It seems to work great. I see him enjoying it in the lake often.

As it relates to the issue of multifunction cars and the flying car, yeah, the compromises are usually not for the faint of heart. The Amphicars had a reputation for being pretty scary on the highway. Light weight and lots of lift there. I’m sure the flying car has some unattractive compromises too.