As a kid this didn’t seem so new, flying cars were a regular occurrence every Saturday morning. Jetsons, the futuristic series, first produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1962, was set in 2062. We might actually beat this date by a long shot. If predictions are even in the ballpark… we could be flying those cars by 2017… or at least the elite few who can afford them. The folks at Terrafugia have plans for the debut of the first generation car/plane hybrid called the Transition. The Transition is a street-legal car with wings that fold out to make an FAA-approved airplane, all at a cost of $279,000. The transition is designed to be ready for the road, the air, and your home.
You’ll be able to park it in a single-car garage and according to Terrafugia; anyone with a driver’s license should be able to fly/drive one. To operate a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), you’ll only need 20 hours of flight time and you’ll have your very own sports pilot license.
Flying cars will be the next evolution in transportation. What will this mean to you and I? How will airspace be monitored so that we don’t have crashes and chaos in the skies? On the surface it doesn’t seem like an easy feat to pull off!
At the turn of the century our great-grandfathers felt the same way when horse and buggy were about to be replaced with the automobile.
The “horseless carriage” made its debut at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Crude, no more than a two-seated buckboard powered by an electric motor, none-the-less the exhibit excited its audience. Within fifteen years the automobile industry was firmly established, producing roomy, comfortable cars capable of traveling sixty miles per hour. First seen as a toy for the rich, the car began to be taken more seriously as its advantages over the horse became obvious, particularly after Henry Ford introduced his Model T in 1908.
Driving in these early days was always a challenge. Dirt roads that the horse found perfectly acceptable became impassable quagmires of mud for the automobile. No gas stations dotted the roadscape. As far as navigation was concerned, forget the road map (none existed) and be happy you even have a road to travel.
Man will be presented with similar challenges when we go from paved roads to boundless boundaries of airspace. One of the major difficulties that flying cars will present is that a small fender bender could be catastrophic; whereas currently a fender bender will ruin your day, but at least you’ll live another day to talk about it.
Crashes by amateur pilots happen regularly; general aviation has a very poor safety record compared to commercial flights. According to a 2012 National Transportation Safety Board report, in 2010, general aviation accidents accounted for 96 percent of all accidents, 97 percent of fatal accidents, and 96 percent of total fatalities of all U.S. civil aviation.
Consider that air travel is expected to double over the next 20 years. Additionally commercial drones will soon be FAA approved as businesses like Amazon are clamoring for the opportunity to send your small packages over to your home or office via drone. There are countless opportunities that will entice and engage all shapes and size businesses in using drones in their businesses.
Let’s face it, every opportunity can be a challenge, and every challenge can most certainly be an opportunity! The evolution of travel and transportation are about to make huge leaps forward. Are you ready to leap? or fly?
Resources: Eyewitnesstohistory, Fast Company, TechCrunch