From today’s ‘Morning edition’
We’ll see. Claims of low noise don’t match up with current vehicles, the tape had to be a computer simulation since there isn’t a flying one yet. Same with the “anyone can fly it”. I’m skeptical.
So drivers can be incompetent in three dimensions, rather than two…
I use to work less then 1/2 mile from this company in MA. They’ve been around for about 15 years. I’ve actually seen one of their vehicles driving on the streets more then once. Haven’t seen them fly yet, but I know they do.
The prototype one’s flown, but the one that looks like the offspring of an F1 car and George Jetson’s saucer hasn’t. And I suspect it never will.
Assuming they happen to any noticeable degree, which is honestly a big leap of faith, flying cars will work one of two ways. Either they’ll be 100% automated, at least in the air, or they will require a pilot’s license. The FAA isn’t going to let untrained dimwits bounce around the sky just because their airplane can also drive on the highway.
But I suspect “flying cars” will actually be more like the Volocopter and its ilk. Not actually cars, but more like overgrown multi-rotor drones that taxi people from one landing pad to another. The reason for that, as we’ve discussed before around here, is that the things that make a car legal, much less drive well are pretty much exactly the things that make an airplane fly like crap. And vice-versa.
Take an airplane, give it fold-up wings and possibly a telescoping tail so it will fit on the street, and you’ve already added a bunch of weight in the hinge and extension mechanisms. Then you have to figure out how to move it on the streets, because no one’s going to be amused if you propel it with the prop. So either electric motors or a transmission and driveshaft. Add all the crash protection (air bags, etc) that a car has and which an airplane doesn’t need, and you’ve added more weight.
Before long you’ve got a lot of weight invested in the airplane (and the more weight you add to an airplane, the worse it flies) and that needs to be countered by saving weight elsewhere, so you make everything else as light as possible, which either means cutting functionality (delete swaybars/good suspension in favor of something light, etc) or adding lots of expense (use exotic materials and designs to get the functionality with light weight). And even if you go the expense route, you still have those wings and tail that the car doesn’t need, but which is adding weight on the car side which affects acceleration and handling.
And if you go the add-expense route, that means someone has to spend a boat load of money to get this thing. At that point, why not just buy a normal airplane and a normal car. You’ll get better performance on the ground and in the air that way. After all, you still have to drive the flying car to the airport in order to fly it, and as long as you’re driving there anyway, might as well just drive your Mercedes there and hop in your Cirrus.
Yeah, I don’t think ‘flying cars’ (which drive down the road as well as fly) will ever make an impact on personal transportation. Air taxis (mega-drones), on the other hand, might, but I sure hope they figure out how to control the noise.
The military has a long history of interest in these things:
FLIGHTLINE: 200 - US ARMY VTOL EXPERIMENTS # 2 - FLYING JEEPS | Come for the cars, stay for the anarchy (opposite-lock.com)
FLIGHTLINE: 199 - US ARMY VTOL EXPERIMENTS #1 - FLYING PLATFORMS | Come for the cars, stay for the anarchy (opposite-lock.com)
The first one goes to my point - it’s a 3-wheeler with the single wheel in the front. Automatically less stable in the corners as a car, especially since it’s top heavy with that rotor up there.
The second one is the one I had in mind when I was talking about fold-up wings. It’s probably the most viable flying car out there, but at $400,000, you could buy a brand new Lexus and still have money left over to buy a very nice single or twin, any one of which will fly circles around the Transition.
The 3rd one is the flying car equivalent of an ATV. Neat for recreational purposes, but you’re not going to be commuting in it.
And the 4th one is going to cost at least $1.3 million, which could get you into a small private jet. Given my druthers, I’ll take the jet.
Imagine these flying cars dropping out of the sky from lack of maintenance from the very same owner-types that never check their oil.
Can you imagine what the insurance costs would be for full coverage on something like that?
I know that was a joke…and I kinda agree with you. But from my understanding if it has a motor and flies then it MUST meet the FAA maintenance requirements.
Yeah, but “must” and “does” are two different things. Even the big boys, like Southwest Airlines, get in trouble from time to time for neglecting to perform required maintenance.
Guaranteed there are improperly-maintained aircraft donking around the sky in the GA world. They just haven’t been caught yet, if they ever will be.
That makes me fell safe - NOT
What an appropriate typo.
The good news is that maintenance requirements on aircraft are pretty ridiculously conservative. The engines are as reliable as car engines, if not moreso, If cars were required to be maintained like airplanes, you’d have to take your car to a licensed mechanic once a year to have it thoroughly inspected, including a compression test for all the cylinders, a check of pretty much everything on and in the car to make sure it’s in good working order, etc. And it’d be a crazy expensive checkup because the guy doing it would have to have a special license issued by the federal government to even touch your car.
Yet we routinely see people in here who drive cars without even getting regular oil changes, much less any other maintenance. And forget inspecting the thing to see if it’s safe - hardly anyone does that. But the cars are still running, even after 100,000+ miles of that abuse.
So even the legally-poorly-maintained aircraft are fairly unlikely to fall out of the sky on you.
lol … Do you folks watch that TV program “Mayday”? Mostly about the cause of airplane crashes. Like the 757 pilot who decided it would be a good idea to let his 15 year old son sit in the pilot seat and fly a plane full of 200 passengers. As you might expect, this didn’t end well. And that guy was a trained commercial airline pilot.
good analysis; thanks!