Finally: The flying car arrives

posted at 5:57 pm on April 3, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

We’ve screamed for them for years. We’ve joked about it. We’ve featured them in auto insurance commercials. IBM was using the idea in their advertisements well over a decade ago. But now the flying cars are here.

Flying cars aren’t just science fiction anymore.

Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia Inc. said Monday that its prototype flying car has completed its first flight, bringing the company closer to its goal of selling the flying car within the next year. The vehicle — dubbed the Transition — has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car. Last month, it flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes.

Here’s what it looks like in non-flying mode. It’s not the size of your Hummer and you won’t be taking the whole family out to Golden Corral, but it’s still pretty cool.

Flying Car 2

The one big problem with the era of flying cars is that the fishbowl theory won’t work any more. One of the early assumptions in air travel was that the sky was so gosh darn big and there were so few planes, that the odds of running into each other were pretty low. That changed over time, but we also developed much better radar and air traffic control systems. Those are in place to track big planes at high altitudes, though. The tree-top skimmers still frequently rely on far more casual controls and the honor system. What happens if there are thousands of these taking wing over suburban communities?

Ah, never mind. We’re finally going to have flying cars. And at long last, we can answer this guy’s question.


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What does it matter? On the skyways they will still have asshats in the left lane with their blinker on.

Limerick on April 3, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Three words… : “OH, THE HUMANITY!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 3, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Foist? WOOO! Nyuk yuk yuk!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Why does Captain Sisko need a flying car when he’s got the Defiant?

radjah shelduck on April 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Not to worry, the government will regulate them out of business and if that doesn’t get them the lawyers will. Now if they ran on algae, we would subisdize them, bail them out and make people buy them.

Minnfidel on April 3, 2012 at 6:05 PM

We have had a flying car for years..I saw it in one of the James Bond movies didn’t I??..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Roads??? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

aunursa on April 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

That’s not a flying car.

That’s a driving Plane.

portlandon on April 3, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Looks like an airplane with folding wings to me. Next comes trying to claim a fax machine is a teleport device.

bgibbs1000 on April 3, 2012 at 6:09 PM

For the cost of that plane/car, I could by a really nice C182 and actually haul stuff and go places. And have cash left over for a Tesla. And change for a Taxi.

ZenDraken on April 3, 2012 at 6:10 PM

EPa will ban them for their carbon footprint.

michaelo on April 3, 2012 at 6:11 PM

…I could buy a really nice C182…

ZenDraken on April 3, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Wow. It’ll be tougher to escape from Miss Cupp when she’s strapped into that. Right, Miss Cupp?

Seth Halpern on April 3, 2012 at 6:12 PM

The tree-top skimmers still frequently rely on far more casual controls and the honor system. What happens if there are thousands of these taking wing over suburban communities?

I wonder if these folks will have to go through the same level of training that pilots have to go through to get their general aviation pilot’s license.

The list of rules you have to know to be able to fly a small plane visually is pretty long. The altitude you have to be above land and objects. The different types of air space – which ones are restricted, which ones you have to announce yourself to before entering, etc. Which types of air craft have to give way to others.

Those are just some of the major ones.

I can’t imagine that simply being able to afford one of these flying cars is going to make it legal to fly them in the early days. Perhaps years from now if flying cars are common, but, for now these will probably be treated like planes and require a pilot’s license.

JadeNYU on April 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

These will obviously be reserved for the noble class. The rest of us lumpen proletariat will be driving the Flinstone’s car and stopping w/ our feet.

lm10001 on April 3, 2012 at 6:15 PM

People can’t drive in 2 dimensions, much less 3.

lorien1973 on April 3, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Roads??? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

aunursa on April 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Nice!..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:15 PM

How to mate a bad car with a bad airplane at an unaffordable price. I think a free Volt with every purchase is in order!

punditbob on April 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Acronym of the day: MAC – Mid Air Collision.

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground. Thomas Jefferson

Chip on April 3, 2012 at 6:18 PM

One good way to avoid the Pike and the Williams Tunnel..

BlaxPac on April 3, 2012 at 6:20 PM

The Transition is currently going through a battery of automotive crash tests to make sure it meets federal safety standards.

How about the “straight drop from 1400 (or more) feet” crash test?

IrishEyes on April 3, 2012 at 6:20 PM

And at long last, we can answer this guy’s question.

“This guy” is a Captain Sisko. He’s the emisary and saved he galaxy from an invasion of gooey people in Star Trek. Geesh.

Women.

lorien1973 on April 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Yeah, I want to see the women in my life parallel park this baby.

That’s going to be interesting….

SteveMG on April 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

scr3w that sh!t.

Give me a damned HoverBoard!!

Tim_CA on April 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Why does Captain Sisko need a flying car when he’s got the Defiant?

radjah shelduck on April 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Can I live with it? I can live with it. I can live with it…

Computer – delete that entire personal log.

ebrawer on April 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

scr3w that sh!t.

Give me a damned HoverBoard!!

Tim_CA on April 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I hear you!!..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:31 PM

JadeNYU on April 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

I don’t think you need a license as long as you fly below 500 ft or something.

lorien1973 on April 3, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Seriously, the real problem with flying cars, and why they will never be commonplace, is the criminality factor.

With a flying car, it’d be effortless to break people out of prison.

With a flying car, itd be effortless to break into any sealed off area — homes, estates, storage yards, etc.

Flying cars destroy the purpose of walls and fences.

Zombie on April 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Nothing about the Tx tornados yet?

Anyway, flying cars…can they run linux?

mythicknight on April 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

So does this development guarantee that the Marlins will switch to the American League and change their nickname in the next three years?

aunursa on April 3, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Give me a damned HoverBoard!!

Tim_CA on April 3, 2012 at 6:28 PM

But to work on water they need power….

Green_Bay_Packers on April 3, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Finally: The flying car arrives

I clicked on this thread thinking it was a post about the tornados in Texas.

mike_NC9 on April 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

For that money I buy a 1980s supercar and a old cessna and own him in point to point races, also I buy a house and a parking spot for me plane with the leftovers.

Daikokuco on April 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

If ordinary cars were invented under the nanny-impulses of today, they’d be driven only by “pilots.” The dangers of those high speed mechanical 4-wheel devices would scare the independent voters into desiring protection provided by mommy government.

Thank goodness the auto came to life when men were men.

Nemesis of Jihad on April 3, 2012 at 6:39 PM

EPA will mandate that they be battery powered.

petefrt on April 3, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Will phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range be an option?

Oldnuke on April 3, 2012 at 6:41 PM

“What happens if there are thousands of these taking wing over suburban communities?”

I’ve seen this movie before…

… It does not turn out well for us.

Seven Percent Solution on April 3, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I clicked on this thread thinking it was a post about the tornados in Texas.

mike_NC9 on April 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

That flying semi-trailer footage is friggin’ incredible.

Tim_CA on April 3, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Flying cars destroy the purpose of walls and fences.

Zombie on April 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Sorta like helicopters, eh?

Oldnuke on April 3, 2012 at 6:42 PM

That is sooooooooo late 40′s, early 50′s. When are we going to start teleporting?

GarandFan on April 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Nowhere near as cool looking as a Moller Skycar.

trigon on April 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

We have had a flying car for years..I saw it in one of the James Bond movies didn’t I??..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Those were only models of a flying car, I believe from “The Man With The Golden Gun”.

rickv404 on April 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Those were only models of a flying car, I believe from “The Man With The Golden Gun”.

rickv404 on April 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

You would be correct sir..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Imagine the damage Laura Bush could do behind the wheel of this!

KeninCT on April 3, 2012 at 6:52 PM

We have had a flying car for years..I saw it in one of the James Bond movies didn’t I??..:)

Dire Straits on April 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Those were only models of a flying car, I believe from “The Man With The Golden Gun”.

rickv404 on April 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Well then try this.

or this.

or this.

or these

Oldnuke on April 3, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Flyins a rich man’s game anyway. Thats for those decadent 1%ers. It will never be accessible to majorities.

Daikokuco on April 3, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Sorta like helicopters, eh?

Oldnuke

Exactly like helicopters. You made my point for me.

Helicopters are rare. Getting a helicopter pilot’s license is very difficult. Helicopters are expensive. But a “flaying car” is by definition easy, commonplace, and easy to get a license for. Hence, the crime factor.

Zombie on April 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Moultan Taylor already built this aircraft, 60 years ago.

The Aerocar

And this one will be less successful then Moultan’s.

lowandslow on April 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Imagine the damage Laura Bush could do behind the wheel of this!

KeninCT on April 3, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Imagine instant karma.

profitsbeard on April 3, 2012 at 7:01 PM

A link to their website:
http://www.terrafugia.com/aircraft.html

albill on April 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Meh……I want a low cost practical flying submarine.

Still you could deliver a lot of tacos out of these.

BL@KBIRD on April 3, 2012 at 7:21 PM

“Just another type of vehicle Sarah Palin can use to shoot endangered species.”

liberal4life

/sarc

Knott Buyinit on April 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM

They don’t even want us toting assault rifles. You think they will let us have flying bombs in the garage?

BTW, dovetailing on the reference to gov’t regulation, two points.

1) When you hear a lib talk about the wonderful inventions which big brother has promoted, like the atom bomb and interstate highway system, research the messes which have been made.

For cars there was the seatbelt interlock, a device so nasty that ou bovine fellow citizens actually noticed that a car which wouldn’t start because of a seat belt was too big a nanny state intrusion and it was scrapped after only a year.

Then there was the 55 mph speed limit which is fine in Malibu or Manhattan but really bad when driving from Butte to Houston.

2) Finally, there is the beloved comment from our President about “..we can put a man on the moon so we should be able to…” (which is the other side of “no silver bullet” so the audience can enjoy the two sides of his mouth they are paying for) and how even commentators fail to attack the cliche.

I am waiting for someone to point out that a government can waste tons of energy on collecting rocks but putting something out there for everyone and turning a profit is a little more difficult. Otherwise we should all be up there hitting golf balls.

We need to put Fannie and Freddie to work on making the green junk feasible. Like loans you don’t have to pay back.

But wait…

IlikedAUH2O on April 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Foist? WOOO! Nyuk yuk yuk!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on April 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM
-
No – Nuuk!

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/16073105.jpg

diogenes on April 3, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Nah. Anything with wings, fold up or not, isn’t really a flying car.

The only thing really approaching a flying car is the Moller Skycar.

jjrakman on April 3, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Looks like an airplane with folding wings to me. Next comes trying to claim a fax machine is a teleport device.

bgibbs1000 on April 3, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Ha! I was gonna that’s not a car, its a tiny airplane.

Sharr on April 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Looks like it has serious rear-visibility problems and a blind spot the size of lunar lander.

bugsy on April 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM

With a flying car, it’d be effortless to break people out of prison.

With a flying car, itd be effortless to break into any sealed off area — homes, estates, storage yards, etc.

Flying cars destroy the purpose of walls and fences.

Zombie on April 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

The runway in my yard is “deed restricted”…..

MaxSplinters on April 3, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Will still be regulated by FAA for certification and operations.

hawkdriver on April 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Imagine the damage Laura Bush could do behind the wheel of this!

KeninCT on April 3, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Or … or Ted Kennedy? He could have just flown over Chappaquiddick Bridge.

Well, really, he was still drunk. Chances are he would have ended up in the Atlantic.

Never mind.

hawkdriver on April 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM

This is a really expensive and impractical toy for the hobby flier with too much time and money on their hands. It makes a so-so plane and a lousy car.
You still need a pilot’s license and an airport.

mad scientist on April 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

This is a really expensive and impractical toy for the hobby flier with too much time and money on their hands. It makes a so-so plane and a lousy car.
You still need a pilot’s license and an airport.

mad scientist on April 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Exactly.

hawkdriver on April 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Now this is a flying car! Flies about as well as a chicken but not as far. But hey, it’s a Lincoln.

Oldnuke on April 3, 2012 at 8:43 PM

How many illegal aliens can be stuffed in one of those?

b1jetmech on April 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM

How would a combination car/airplane be useful to anyone?
Wasn’t the point to have planes that are as ubiquitous as cars. For that, there are some interesting tilt-rotor ideas.

Count to 10 on April 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

If it isn’t like the cars in the Jetsons forget it.

Kevin R on April 3, 2012 at 9:51 PM

What does it matter? On the skyways they will still have asshats in the left lane with their blinker on.

Limerick

Doing the speed limit or 5 under…having matched the speed of the car next to them so no one can pass.

Hard Right on April 3, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Seems like a helicopter car would do better

BomberGuy on April 3, 2012 at 10:13 PM

This is probably classified as a light sport aircraft – you get it 99% done and add a few placards so it counts as a kit aricraft – and because under 1233 pounds and two seats don’t need a pilots license for this just a certificate – easy to get – only 20 hours instruction – less than driving school.

ArthurMachado on April 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM

What’s the difference between a flying car and a plane? Does anyone actually feel comfortable with the morons on the roads flying?

jeffn21 on April 3, 2012 at 10:47 PM

FOX & Friends: It’s a car! It’s a plane! It’s… both?
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1544384907001/

StewartIII on April 3, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I’m still waiting to play hologram chess on my coffee table.

They lied to us way back when!!!

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM

This contraption is sort of like a parachute made from edible cloth. It serves two purposes but neither is going to be very good and you should not do both at the same time. Would you want to be in a heavily compromised airplane when the going gets tough ? Or would you rather be in a heavily compromised car when the going gets tough? Remember too that the idiots that you encounter everyday on the highway will now be above and below you in the air!

inspectorudy on April 4, 2012 at 12:34 AM

The fixed-wing idea makes for a plane that is disappointing as a car. The result is always contrived, overengineered, and expensive to build and own.

The much more elegant solution is this actual car that flies: http://mavericklsa.businesscatalyst.com/index.html

Conceived and built by Steve Saint (yes, that Steve Saint), it has been tested for several years already. It is easy to operate, and is ready for mass production.

skidword on April 4, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Forget about it. This will be outlawed by the Dept. of Homeland Security via Presidential decree. Except for those that he deems to waiver from from the decree, of course.

Carnac on April 4, 2012 at 8:57 AM

http://youtu.be/IiF9X8NRh-A

skidword on April 4, 2012 at 10:36 AM

lorien1973 on April 3, 2012 at 6:32 PM

A recreational license. Still some work required, but it isn’t much more that required to get your driving license.

GWB on April 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Just in time for Hopey-Changey to make fueling them obsolete.

Terp Mole on April 4, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Does it run on wind, solar or battery energy? Does it get over 55 mpg? The Democrats will hate it if these “mandates” aren’t reached.

djaymick on April 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Considering how bad many drivers are, I really do not want to have to dodge them in the air.

woodNfish on April 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

That looks less like a flying car and more like a driving airplane. This won’t catch on the way the Segway didn’t catch on.

The #1 rule of marketing is this: No matter how cool or useful something is, if you look like an idiot using it no one will buy it.

mitchellvii on April 4, 2012 at 7:42 PM