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Fairly Realistic Flying Car Offered for 2009 Delivery

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the promises-promises dept.

Technology 276

An anonymous reader writes to tell us about yet another promise of a flying car. The Register is reporting on the latest from Terrafugia Inc called the "Transition" which is a combination car and airplane that runs on unleaded gas. The idea is that it's a car that you can drive to the nearest airstrip and, with the touch of a button, convert to an airplane, fly to an airstrip close to your goal, then convert back to a car to reach your ultimate destination. Of course, how many times have we been promised flying cars only to suffer in perpetual disappointment.

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276 comments

I'll Believe That... (4, Funny)

InvisibleSoul (882722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929667)

...when cars fly.

Everyone is a criminal, everything is a weapon... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930629)

Where is everyone's political sense here?

Swarthy_faces + flying_cars = 9/11_repeat.

in mother russia.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929691)

car flies you!

It's a datsun (4, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929693)

Plus it's a converted Datsun, comes with a golden gun/cigarette lighter, and a midget bartender.

Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (2, Funny)

SpiffyMarc (590301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929699)

Where are the flying cars?

It's the year 2000.

Where are the flying cars?!

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (2, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929753)

What if a German scientist said to you "I have invented the flying car and I'll give it to you under one condition"?

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (4, Interesting)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929867)

I can recount the story of a guy (air force pilot under training) at the RNZAF Base Wigram in Christchurch, New Zealand who, after quite a few late night beers decided to drive to the service station (US=gas station) to buy a meat pie (US=Pot pie).

Only thing is that he had no transport other than his (own personal) airplane. So he wanders out to the ramp, jumps in, and taxi's his aircraft past the main gate onto the road and to the gas station just outside the Base..

Of course this was back in the day when 'it wasn't so bad to drink and drive', and i'm sure he did a bit of a 'rug dance' in front of his CO on Monday morning... but went onto a rather successful career.

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (3, Informative)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929905)

Ah... just checked with someone that knows the guy... that was PLTOFF Murray in his Midget Mustang .... 1988.

So flying cars, no. Driving airplanes... yes.

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (-1, Flamebait)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930737)

Of course this was back in the day when 'it wasn't so bad to drink and drive'

...and when women really knew their place, or were taught to learn it with a few smacks across the mouth or the sting of a leather belt.

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (2, Funny)

Ted Stevens (1166671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930759)

and i'm sure he did a bit of a 'rug dance' in front of his CO on Monday morning
I'm not sure what that means, but I'm assuming it has something to do with "don't ask, don't tell?"

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930921)

I recall the time some cops in Albuquerque (New Mexico, that's in the USA :-) who decided they were so much in a hurry to get some Krispey Kreme doughnuts they took an unscheduled diversion in the helicopter, landed in the car park to buy some, and flew off. No reports of their specific punishment, but I'll bet they were in deep doo-doo!!

don't believe me? here's the story [seclists.org]

Re:Cmdr. Sisko wants to know -- (1, Insightful)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930679)

It amazes me the number of people who really do still seem to believe that flying cars and Star Trek are the future (I know the parent was joking, but there is a serious point here).

I haven't got my crystal ball with me, but I'm still fairly sure that if there's going to be a future, it's not going to involve petrol powered flying cars pumping out CO2 on an unprecedented scale.
I'm also fairly sure that if human civilization ever does advance to the point where interstellar travel is possible it will require us to evolve our ideas a little beyond the America in space that the Star Trek franchise basically represents.

I for one don't think the immediate future is going in the direction of flying cars and starships, right now I'd be happy if the human race just concentrated on finding a way to avoid polluting or blasting ourselves back to neolithic times, nevermind anything else.

More interesting are the Honda plug-ins (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929707)

They have a Gorilla-influenced plug-in hybrid SUV and a few other strange cars coming out - pics on yahoo news today.

Why can't they make a rotor-based flying car that's a plug-in bio-diesel hybrid? Or a modified jet pack that uses bio-jet-fuel?

Heck, even a giant propeller beanie with a backpack frame so your head stays on ...

Re:More interesting are the Honda plug-ins (3, Funny)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930489)

Gorilla influenced plug in hybrid SUV?

Alright, so long as it doesn't climb to the top of the Empire State Building to tap power off of that big light bulb up there.

Masks! (3, Funny)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929709)

Can I get my own cool Spectrum mask?

Re:Masks! (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929871)

Sure, but the goggles... they do nothing!

Re:Masks! (1)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930367)

Yeah, if their first model isn't a 1985 Camaro with gull-wing doors I'm going to be severely disappointed.

So where's Caractatus Potts... (2, Insightful)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929713)

when you need him? Bring us Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang! [imdb.com] Now THERE's a flying car.

And they never DID develp Flubber. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930913)

Antigravity makes flying vehicles much more controllable.

And violating conservation of energy (or puling the extra energy from somewhere unexplained) helps a lot with fuel costs.

Blind spots anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929717)

From that picture, it seems like there are some pretty major blind spots (i.e., if you do a shoulder-check before a lane-change, you're just going to be looking at a friggin wing). So who cares if the thing can fly...you're probably going to get creamed once you join up with traffic on a busy road.

5 MPH crash standard. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930955)

So who cares if the thing can fly...you're probably going to get creamed once you join up with traffic on a busy road.

My first thought on seeing that was: "What's a fender-bender going to do to your expensive folding plane when the 'fender' is a wing?"

Will these things be airworthy after a 5MPH crash? Bet they're not.

Phew (4, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929771)

Phew, being "fairly realistic" is pretty high up my list of desirable features for any air transportation I use.

Re:Phew (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929817)

hahah +1 funny

Re:Phew (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930627)

Funny, I only use unrealistic air transport. Dragons, flying carpets, reindeer sleighs, that sort of thing.

50s? Ha./ (2, Informative)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929783)

Current technology could, however, offer something a bit more exciting than the ordinary light aircraft which have been flying almost unchanged since the 1950s.

More like the 30s!

This will go nowhere. (2, Interesting)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929791)

This idea was never practical for the simple reason that the average driver can't be trusted to fly an airplane. Now that we live in the age of "Homeland Security", it's doubly unlikely that any government will allow "unknown flying objects" buzzing around.

Re:This will go nowhere. (4, Insightful)

phil reed (626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929913)

Hell, the average driver can't be trusted to drive, let alone fly.

What's worse, you'd probably see some idiot "driver" flying 300 miles with his right turn signal on.

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930017)

I agree. Unless every "driver" gets good training and laws are strictly enforced, I do not see this happening any time soon. I will be happy when cars can auto-drive. Once we get to that point, then I can image personal aircraft for each driver.

Re:This will go nowhere. (3, Insightful)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930071)

Yes! Drug-trafficking, immigration, etc. These things would become totally unmanagable. And what about stupid teenagers that run out of gas in the middle of the atlantic? But even though the technology wouldn't be publicly available, that is not to say that it won't be useful for some purposes. Furthermore, who needs justification for cool technology to exist?

Re:This will go nowhere. (3, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930789)

And what about stupid teenagers that run out of gas in the middle of the atlantic?

That'd be like so embarrassing. Stuck three thousand feet in the air, waiting around until dad gets there with a gas can.

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930155)

Now that we live in the age of "Homeland Security", it's doubly unlikely that any government will allow "unknown flying objects" buzzing around.
Indeed! Next thing you know you'll have people flying cars into parking structures.

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930305)

I know RTFA'ing isn't fashionable, but go RTFA anyway. Who said anything about "average drivers"?

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930451)

I know RTFA'ing isn't fashionable, but go RTFA anyway. Who said anything about "average drivers"?

Well, scary enough is the fact that they've not set the bar very high ...

The only extra touch is that a Transition® is intended to qualify as an FAA "Light-Sport Aircraft", which means a somewhat less onerous regulatory regime. A "Sport pilot" licence is easier and cheaper to get than an ordinary private pilot's licence, requiring only 20 hours logged; and there are breaks on maintenance, medical checks etc.

Twenty freakin' hours? That's not gonna filter that many people from having one of these. Although, hopefully it'll skim off some of the idiots.

I agree with the sentiment of the poster -- I see drivers which have a hard enough time staying within their lanes in 2D. In 3D, I expect to see horribly bad things happen.

Cheers

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930635)

Over here, you have to log more than 20h to get your _driving license_.

For a plane, thats a joke.

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930893)

Dude, I solo'd a Cessna 172 with 15 hours of flight time with an instructor. Sure, it didn't mean I had my license, but once you solo you can fly by yourself with only a small amount of restrictions.

Re:This will go nowhere. (2, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930317)

How is this different from small Cesnas and what not that are buzzing around now, except that it folds up and drives you home from the airstrip? I don't think there would be problems with the licensing, its just another small plane. It won't be average drivers that will be flying this thing, you'll still need a pilots license as well as a drivers license.

Re:This will go nowhere. (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930839)

How is this different from small Cesnas and what not that are buzzing around now, except that it folds up and drives you home from the airstrip? I don't think there would be problems with the licensing, its just another small plane. It won't be average drivers that will be flying this thing, you'll still need a pilots license as well as a drivers license.
Plus, $150K to spend on your flying car. With a top speed of 115 mph, it hardly seems worth the bother anyway.

Ugly Piece of Shit! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929815)

eom

Wow! (1)

pigiron (104729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929819)

That car looks really keen, Wally.

an even better idea (0, Redundant)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929831)

instead of making cars that can fly, why not make a small private airplane that you can drive on the roads & highways...

Re:an even better idea (2, Insightful)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930005)

The requirements for flight are rather different than the requirements for being a licensable motor vehicle. For flight, I need very low weight, high power, and appropriate aerodynamics. On ground, I have reqirements for braking and handling, accident protection, etc. Being long and slender is fine for airplanes, but is bad for road manuverability. Wings have to be folded or removed to make the plane narrow enough to drive, but on the road, the airfoils are dead weight. In the air, the wheels and driving machanisms are dead weight.

If you increase the power enough (jets anyone) you can reduce the size of the airfoils as you raise the velocity, but you pay for this with increased takeoff and cruising speeds. There are obvious hazards here as well as very high fuel costs. Helicopters cost a lot more to fly and maintain that fixed wing planes for good reason.

Do you want the average driver trying to fly over your city or land in your neighborhood at very high velocities? I sure don't. Bad weather would make the situation worse.

Even with the current safety status of fixed wing planes, if you ever try to get a very large life insurance policy, they may well ask you if you fly planes. There is a reason they ask.

Re:an even better idea (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930147)

instead of making cars that can fly, why not make a small private airplane that you can drive on the roads & highways...
So, are you trying to improve on the original summary?

Realistic? (3, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929875)

This is not a 'flying car'. Yes, it may go on the road, and may actually fly. But it does neither well. Very impractical for actual driving with those blind spots, and if you're flying, why are you hauling a heavy roadable drivetrain around?

550lb total payload. -120lb gas, -200lb pilot + 150lb passenger = 80lb left. What...you were eplanning on bringing a little luggage?

Re:Realistic? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930209)

Those two things (flying and driving) tend to be somewhat exclusive.

The whole blind-spot thing can be overcome with inexpensive cameras (people already do this on SUVs and trucks), though. As for passengers and cargo, as a personal conveyance device 80lbs really isn't bad. You're not going to go pick up fertilizer or concrete at the Home Depot in this thing. 80lbs of cargo is more than most people take on a week vacation, and if you're that worried about bringing back souvenirs there's always UPS.

Re:Realistic? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930373)

As for passengers and cargo, as a personal conveyance device 80lbs really isn't bad.

Bring 2 backpacks of 20lb each (camera equip, lunch, and a couple changes of clothes), and now you're flirting dangerously close to the absolute limit. Don't run into any bad weather.

Re:Realistic? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930299)

I'm left wondering if a smaller motorcycle or a Vespa-style street scooter could have a designated cargo spot in a small plane without raising the weight too high. Lightweight plane? Fine, haul a lightweight ground vehicle with you.

Re:Realistic? (2, Interesting)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930653)

I had a friend with a small plane years ago that did exactly that a couple small scooters it in the back cargo compartment very nicely.

Re:Realistic? (4, Funny)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930323)

you were eplanning on bringing a little luggage?

Dude, that is sooo 1999. We now call it iPlanning

Re:Realistic? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930825)

Pretty much. It will be a bad car or a bad plane or most likly both.

This won't ever become mainstream (5, Insightful)

MrToast (789068) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929903)

This won't ever become mainstream without a serious amount of automated control. We already have enough problems driving in two dimensions. I can't even begin to imagine driving in three.

Re:This won't ever become mainstream (0)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930075)

you'll find on the second page of TFA that it's automated.

Re:This won't ever become mainstream (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930257)

The FAA's Personal Aviation program mandates full automation. You take it to a pad, tell it where you want to go, and the rest is up to the flight control network to get you there.

Yeah, that software. I'll admit their requirements on avionics are top notch, but I'm not sure I want the clusterfuck that's been pretty much every replacement for the aging air traffic control system in charge of hurtling me to my destination.

Similar to the AeroCar (5, Interesting)

krilid (1171645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929923)

This looks very similar to the AeroCar on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight. http://www.airventuremuseum.org/collection/aircraft/Taylor%20Aerocar.asp [airventuremuseum.org] From what I recall the AeroCar actually came close to serial production back in the 40s-50s, however was ultimately dropped.

Consistency please? (2, Funny)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929981)

Submitters, please either bring us crapload of algae/hybrid/electrical/fuel cell/ethanol/biodiesel/thyme-powered car stories, OR X-wing/SUV/flying-car ones, but not both. It justs doesn't make sense to prone energy-efficiency on one hand and use barrels worth of oil for stupid stuff on the other. Thank you.

Most important thing to know (2, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929983)

Will it come with OnStar?

Look out below!

Unleaded fuel???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929985)

I find it interesting they're claiming it'll run on plain old unleaded fuel.

Especially since aircraft tend to run on a higher grade of fuel because they need all of the energy they can muster to actually achieve flight.

I'm gonna need to see a working prototype before I think anyone has achieved VTOL on unleaded fuel and in a package which can both safely fly and drive. To date, the military with very big budgets hasn't always been able to make VTOL work.

Until then, this is just an "artists rendition" of something.

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (2, Informative)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930091)

Who says it's VTOL?

This one has wings that fold out and takes off and lands conventionally - hence the bit about finding a runway...

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930145)

To reply to my own comment.... FTFA:

"The Transition isn't a PAV; it's a normal light aircraft which can fold its wings at the touch of a button and become a car, and which runs on unleaded.

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930233)

Who says it's VTOL?

You sir, are exactly correct. When I read the first paragraph of TFA, I saw ...

In such a machine you could simply jump into your car outside your house, quietly lift off vertically, fly somewhere even in bad visibility and congested airspace, and set down again equally vertically.

and misinterpreted the nature of the beast.

You are absolutely correct, there is nothing VTOL about this machine at all. My bad. =)

Cheers

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930393)

No probs!!

Those guys at the Register are pretty good at letting you think you're reading one thing while it actually says something different....

I always read their articles with a 'what are they really saying', and usually read someone else's article on the same topic to see how much FUD/exaggeration they crammed in there...

I still agree with your premise that their pushing sh*t up hill with a very small stick....

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930481)

I still agree with your premise that their pushing sh*t up hill with a very small stick....

Well, it wasn't my original premise ... but, I like yours better and it's much more succinct. We'll go with that one. :-P

Cheers

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930141)

Learn to read.

Basically, you drive around like normal. On long trips, you make a hop by driving to the airport, taking off, landing at another airport, then continue on to your destination.

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930261)

Well, I am glad to see the grand tradition of not RTFA is still alive after ten years. It is not VTOL. I has foldable wings and classifies as a Light-Sport aircraft (one up from a super light) with low velocity (high lift) horizontal take off and landing. A good old fashioned paved private air strip will suffice. Still stinks in areas around cities.

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (2, Informative)

icebrain (944107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930407)

Standard avgas is 100 octane low-lead, to mitigate detonation in traditional engines (Lycoming, Continental, etc). Most of these older engines haven't changed much since the 30s.

A lot of the newer, smaller engines, like Rotaxes and Jabirus, can run on automotive unleaded gas (often 93 octane). The older engines often can too, though you have to be careful as ethanol can eat up seals in the fuel system and give you a very bad day. This is getting more popular as gas prices rise

We're also starting to see airplanes with computer-controlled diesel engines running on standard Jet-A.

Also, the vehicle in TFA isn't VTOL--it would need a runway like any other airplane.

common mod (2, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930541)

It's a common mod to make a little cessna fly on regular gas. Ya, they fly better with avgas, but they can fly perfectly fine with car gas. I'm sitting right this second about 400 yards away from a 172 that gets flown all the time with such a mod.

Re:Unleaded fuel???? (1)

EricTheMad (603880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930583)

I find it interesting they're claiming it'll run on plain old unleaded fuel.
Many of the newer aircraft engines meant for smaller aircraft are designed to allow for the use of auto gas, as well as 100 octane avgas.

alternately (2, Interesting)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929999)

Ecogeek [ecogeek.org] is reporting that you can get a car that looks like an airplane and gets close to 300 mpg. It also starts selling next year. The car in question is pretty sexy - you can preorder one [aptera.com] at this extremely annoying web page.

Re:alternately (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930365)

I would love to drive one of those ... right up to the point when some soccer mom squashes me like a bug with her Excursion.

"honey ... what was that bump?"

Re:alternately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930807)

SUV drivers should be dragged from their vehicles and beaten to death.

Fairly realistic? Sounds familiar (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930009)

Fairly realistic operating system - released January 30, 2007.

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison

Unsuprisingly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930029)

stupid.

Fuck Bush

Heh.... (1)

pimpbott (642033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930031)

... looks like some of the ricer street racer kiddie Honda Civics around here. Just put some purple neon tubes underneath, some 19" rear rims and 15" steel wheels on the front (complete with cupped and heat deformed tires) and you can take it to the local industrial park for some good times.

What does the FAA say about it? (0)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930049)

I'm sure this THING won't fly at the FAA. Their certification standards are extreme and rightfully so.

Pros and Cons: (1)

gozu (541069) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930053)

The article says its top speed in the air is 115 mph. That's too slow.

Also, the carrying capacity is very limited with a capacity of 2 people or 1 person with luggage. 2 people with luggage is a much more acceptable figure.

The autonomy is less than 500 miles in the air, not so great for interstate trips.

The air mileage mileage, however is 25 mpg. That's good mileage.

And it has a 120 gallons fuel capacity, not bad at all for a car.

Re:Pros and Cons: (1)

TheUglyAmerican (767829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930251)

It wasn't 120 gal of fuel, it was 120 lbs. That's 20 gal. The Rotax (depending on model) uses about 4 gal/hr so that's 4 hours plus reserve.

Re:Pros and Cons: (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930529)

The autonomy is less than 500 miles in the air, not so great for interstate trips.

Depends where you live - if you're in the western U.S., Canada or Australia, it's not so great. In the eastern U.S. or Europe it's fine. 500 miles range can get me from NYC to Boston or DC easily, bypassing heavily-trafficked roadways.

The air mileage mileage, however is 25 mpg. That's good mileage.

Eh, it's OK. Per passenger-mile a 747 is better. :)

And it has a 120 gallons fuel capacity, not bad at all for a car.

Not bad? That's freakin' huge for a car. However, it has a 120 pound fuel capacity, which is more like 17-18 gallons.

Re:Pros and Cons: (1)

EricTheMad (603880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930781)

The autonomy is less than 500 miles in the air, not so great for interstate trips.
My car will do about 400 miles on a tank of gas. You know what I do when it gets low? I fill up the tank.

Security Checks? (5, Funny)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930077)

Just imagine, driving a car from the street onto an airstrip, with several gallons of liquids in the tank and a trunk big enough to house a thermonuclear device. Why do you need a button for transfoming it into an airplane? Airport security will dismantle it anyway before allowing it onto the runway and I am sure for a couple of dollars extra, they'll reassemble your car as an airplane. Saves a lot in production cost, if you do not need all the fancy pneumatics, hydraulics and transforming gizmos...

Meanwhile, in other news ... (1, Offtopic)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930109)

GM announces the capability to stall cars via the OnStar system
(here) [slashdot.org] .

Re:Meanwhile, in other news ... (1)

LindaMack (1134133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930801)

How is the parent poster offtopic? Makes me imagine flying cars being stalled and dropping from the sky, appropriately on bad-ass moderators :p

Re:Meanwhile, in other news ... (1)

guabah (968691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20931015)

Steal one of those aircars with OnStar and it'll be quite a show.

Unleaded Gas (1)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930113)

Aren't we suppose to be trying to get away from our dependence on gasoline? This car is probably such a gas guzzler it will way too much to maintain it.

perpetual disappointment (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930125)

What are you, Christian?

What are the odds...? (5, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930175)

If the average person is 60 times more likely to die in a car crash than plane crash, what are the odds of dying in a flying car crash?

The chase... (2, Funny)

tunafreedolphin (1033472) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930249)

I can't wait to watch that high speed chase.

granny (1)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930253)

Would you want your grandmother flying it?

'nuff said.

Re:granny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930727)

No! She's dead you insensitive clod!
Everyone knows dead grannys can't drive.
Last time she tried she kept stopping to pick up more fresh brains

nada (4, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930275)


  The construction of a plane is nowhere nearly hardy enough for typical road use. If you end up hitting just a bit of potholes, speedbumps, etc, are you ready to that vehicle in the air? Hell, cars these days are build with crash bumpers that are supposed to take a 5mph bump without driveability-affecting damage - no planes have them. The undercarriage of a car includes some of the world's most advanced engineering tuned for stability, handling, suspension and road noise - which adds significant weight. A plane has a few wheels (one that turns) and struts, nothing so complicated - because its light and just durable enough for landing on the runway. TFA mentions drivetrain and wing storage as two other clashing designs, but there are several more (road worthiness, air worthiness, strength, durability, luxury, maintenance).

  It comes down to tuning for the target environment. A car is not a boat. A plane is not a car. Shoes are not wheels. Targeting two has predictable results: Everyone is let down.

 

Re:nada (2, Insightful)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930747)

Shoes are not wheels. Targeting two has predictable results: Everyone is let down.
Judging by the popularity of roller shoes [wikipedia.org] -- I don't think I've been to a store/mall/public place without seeing several kids with them -- I'd have to disagree with you. I think your premise is true in general, but shoes/wheels is a very bad example of it.

Re:nada (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930863)

You have any idea how rough a landing some of those little struts can take ? Not so good on side loading but doable.

That is not a problem. The car part will be.

Don't they require airbags and a certain amount of survivablity in different crash situations now? Really doubt you can get all that under 1400 lbs. That is like half of a Mini Cooper isn't it ?!? My 1800 lb Opel has no airbags and would fail any kind of side impact standard, adding wings and a prop while shaving 400lbs seems pretty tough.

Oh and a fender bender that does $40000 in damage would kinda suck too.

Personally i would prefer NOT having a one-touch wing...give me payload or range.
I am going to get out to preflight it anyway i hope. I wonder where they hide the gas drain....

Ah, yes, terrafugia (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930291)

From the latin, "terra" meaning "ground" and "fugia" meaning "flight into."

Re:Ah, yes, terrafugia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930899)

Actually, my Latin is a bit rusty, but "Fugia" means "to flee" or "to escape". As in, "to escape the ground".

Not particularly clever, but hey, they don't seem to mind the name...

I would of expected to see . . . (1)

corifornia2 (1158503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930523)

Hm.. I RTFA and what I would expect to see in an article about a flying car, is well. . . maybe it flying.

It can't fly yet . . . then its not a flying car. Its a car with wings.
Look I found someone else who invented a flying car [fiddlersgreen.net] and you can build it at home for just a few dollars!!!

Plummet! (1)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930563)

Wel all have told, or have heard someone tell about how our or someone else's car ran out of gas in the middle of the dessert - or the engine failed for some inexplicable reason. Well... we certainly won't be hearing those stories anymore!

sentient cars (1)

sentientspace (1171687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930705)

Wouldn't it be more reasonable and rewarding to develop cars that can sense/react to their environment and drive themselves in the first place?

I hope it never happens (1)

Techx9 (1170143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930711)

I really hope to god that the general public is never allowed to fly any vehicles, just look at how downright horrible people drive cars and trucks. Even after written and driving tests, they do nothing to keep them from creating havoc on the roads. I can only imagine how much more dangerous it would be in the air, and add to that the vastly increased potential for terrorism. On the other hand, public transportation like local air-buses would be ok I think, but nothing will be without risk.

You'd do what for a flying car?!? (2, Funny)

cain (14472) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930761)

Let's get this out of the way: flying car [youtube.com] .

"Fairly Realistic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930903)

exactly what does this mean in the context of a vehicle that one would be risking their life to fly in

it better be pretty damn realistic, if I'm going to sit in it
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