The concept of flying cars has been around for decades in the minds of science fiction writers, ambitious inventors, dreamers and young children. What if I was to tell you that what seemed like nothing but a far away dream may actually be reality.

 

First, what is a flying car? A flying car is a vehicle that can function as both a road vehicle and an aircraft. Despite its name, a motorcycle that can fly would technically be classified as a flying car. This also includes hover cars and VTOL’s (vertical take-off and landing aircraft).

 

To give a brief summary on the history of flying cars: The concept of flying cars dates back to the early 20th century. The first flying car was built in 1917 by an inventor named Glenn Curtiss. It was called the Autoplane and while it was capable of lifting off the ground, it was never able to fully fly. However, it wasn’t until the 1940s that the prototypes of what we would now recognize as flying cars began to emerge. In 1949, the Aerocar was developed in the US by an inventor named Molt Taylor and first flown in 1950. These early flying cars were never mass produced, but they proved that flying vehicles were possible.

 

Over the years, there have been many attempts to bring a fully functional flying car to life. Two of the more recent and successful attempts are the Jetson ONE which was developed by the Swedish company, Jetson and the AirCar which was developed by the Slovakian company, Klein Vision. The Jetson ONE offered 20-minute flight times for pilots weighing up to 210 pounds in 2022 while the AirCar completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia in 2021 and has been issued a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority

 

Flying cars have a lot of benefits. These include increased mobility and convenience as they can bypass road traffic, less traffic congestion which would reduce noise pollution, less travel time and environmental benefits as they can reduce the need for building and maintaining traditional road infrastructure and they have lower carbon footprint than traditional road vehicles. They have the potential to revolutionise the way we travel. 

 

However, as with any new technology, there are quite a few drawbacks. These include high developmental costs, technical challenges associated with their design and manufacture such as safety and noise pollution. From all of this, It’s clear that we are still a long way from flying cars moving from prototypes and being widespread.

 

References

[1] Aviation Outlook, “Advantages and disadvantages of flying cars”, https://aviationoutlook.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-flying-cars/?utm_content=cmp-true

[2] Teague, Chris, (2022) “Jetson ONE Is a $92,000 ‘Flying Sports Car“, Autoweek, https://www.autoweek.com/news/a39092293/jetson-one-is-a-dollar-92000-flying-sports-car/#:~:text=Whatever%20it’s%20called%2C%20it’s%20clear,in%20a%20Jetson%20One%20eVTOL%3F

[3]  BBC, (2022), Flying car wins airworthiness certification, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60072194 

[4] Gourney, Bill, (2022),” What it would take for cars to actually fly”, Popular science, https://www.popsci.com/aviation/history-of-flying-cars/#:~:text=Since%20the%20advent%20of%20aviation,progressed%20from%20prototype%20to%20reality. 

[5]”The Terrafugia Flying Car @ the 2012 New York Internatioanl Auto Show” by lotprocars is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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