Why your car can't fly
It seems like every year somebody invents a new flying car. Here's the truth nobody wants to hear: Flying cars are a bad idea and nobody really wants one.
Have you heard the news? A Slovakian company called Klein Vision got approval for the world’s first flying car!
Specifically, the company’s AirCar got legal permission to fly — a Certificate of Airworthiness — inside Slovakia by the Slovak Transport Authority. The company says the certification "opens the door for mass production” and that they could be churning out flying cars off the assembly line in a year. (I'll be back in a year to point out that this prediction didn't even come close to happening.)
With its four car-like tires and gas-powered internal combustion engine, the AirCar looks and works like a car that flies, which is the vision futurists have been predicting for a century.
Along with jet packs and food in pill form, flying cars were a staple of 20th-Century futurism, which envisioned a family flying car in every driveway. Soaring above the roads on the way to work, school and the high-tech shopping center, the flying car was intended to replace regular cars for everyday use.
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!" said Doc Brown in “Back to the Future.”
The Klein Vision AirCar is being touted by the gullible and lazy tech press as the “world’s first flying car.”
The world’s first “world’s first flying car” was touted in 1934 — built by Waldo Waterman. And there’s been a whole lot of touting since then.
In 1949, a company built six flying cars called the Taylor Aerocar, which were intended by be the prototypes of a new industry, but which never sold. Other “world’s first flying cars” were touted in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
In the last 20 years along, dozens of companies and thousands of inventors have created what they called flying cars. The PAL-V, Skycar, AeroMobil 3.0, Maverick LSA, Icon A5, Switchblade, Lilium Jet, Volocopter, Pegase Mk2, Skyrunner, Volante Joby S2 and the Terrafugia TF-X were all billed as the “world’s first flying car.” Where are they now?
The public thinks about flying cars as cars that fly — an inevitable improvement on the cars we all drive. But the aviation industry sees them more accurately as airplanes that can be driven on the same roads as cars. The aviation category is called “roadable aircraft.” And they’ve been around for many decades.
The reason you never see one — the reason you don’t have one — is that a “flying car” is a horrible idea.
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