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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