Flying Car, Already Cleared For Skies, Now Cleared For Roads Too

from the but-where's-my-flying-car dept

Ah, the cry of we-want-the-future-now folks has been "where's my flying car?" Well, a very simple version of one may finally be coming to market. A year ago, we noted that the Terrafugia Transition "roadable aircraft" had been approved by the FAA for flight as a light sports aircraft (meaning you don't even need a full pilots license). But it apparently took another year for the Transition to get the necessary "exemptions" from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to let the thing go on the road.
In case you're wondering why it needed exemptions, the LA Times has the details:
So what kinds of special exemptions does a "roadable aircraft" (best name ever) need? Well, special windows, for one. Regular laminated automotive safety glass is too heavy for the Transition while in the air, and there's always a danger that a bird could fracture it. (Dang birds!) Instead of glass windows, the Transition will use a polycarbonate material less prone to shattering. NHTSA also signed off on the use of special tires.
Now, of course, this isn't really the Jetsons-like vision of the flying car people have talked about for ages. The reason it's called a "roadable aircraft" rather than a "flying car" is that the emphasis here is definitely on the aircraft part, and you still have to take off and land at an airport. It's just that you can drive to and from the airport in the same vehicle. And it'll only set you back $250,000 (about $50,000 more than what was reported last year). By the time it actually hits the market next year, perhaps it'll cost even more.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:27am

    Why is this article here? It has nothing to do with music piracy.

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:51am

    That was the sound of a thousand insurance actuarial departments collectively facepalming and admitting to themselves they've got to get off their asses and actually come up with insurance and rates for this thing.

     

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    killscar (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 6:04am

    Oh joy...

    I can't wait to read about the stupid things that people do with this. Texting while landing, see how many college kids we can pack into a car/plane/car. I am all giggly with excitement!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 6:41am

      Re: Oh joy...

      Except not. This thing is an airplane first and a car second.
      That means you have to have a small aircraft pilot's license to be able to do anything in the air with this thing.

      With the amount of time, cost, and effort it takes to get a pilot's license, as well as the cost of the roadable aircraft itself, you can be sure everything you just listed off is not going to happen.

      Enjoy the shattering of your dreams.

       

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        killscar (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: Oh joy...

        Buzzkill!

         

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        mattarse (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Oh joy...

        According to sportpilot.org it's only $3-5000 and 20 hours of time in the US.

        Yeah it sounds like alot but I live in the Czech Republic where it takes around $1000 and I think (not sure of the exact time) 40 hours of driving to get a car license.

        So to me this looks extremely reasonable :)

         

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        killscar (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re: Oh joy...

        I sat back and thought about how naive your response to my light-hearted comment was and I briefly hesitated posting this as I don't want to get into an argument but I couldn't resist. You are overlooking a few factors... 1) Theft, I'm sure there will be instructions on the web on how to hotwire one of these bad boys. I'm sure somebody with flight simulator will think thatthey can give this thing a whirl.

        2) Rich kids not appreciating the value of daddy's dollar. You are assuming that everyone will be doing what they are supposed to be doing. We all know what happen when you assume.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: Oh joy...

        You're just mad because your mom will have to lose 500 lbs to fit in one.

         

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    Joe, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    They forgot to get a designer to work with them. Interesting but hella-ugly. I can't see this competing with the Icon A5. That was designed by an F-16 pilot and a skateboarder and is also 'roadable', as in you can pull it on a trailer like a boat and also park it in the driveway. But it has the advantage of being dead sexy and half the price.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMMm_MczGL0

     

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    Disclosure, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Zero Point Energy

    We could be using zero point energy to "fuel" flying cars, among other things, but that makes too much sense.

     

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    Jacob Cooper (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    The TSA has already begun a feasibility study to determine how best to place agents to inspect each car owner before they take to the skies. This will be a boon for the scatter imaging manufactures as each household will be required to purchase, maintain and staff each scanner.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Airports

    > you still have to take off and land at an airport

    Why? You don't even have to take off and land at an airport in an actual *airplane*. People fly out of their own property all the time-- crop dusters, private planes landing in fields and on dirt roads, etc.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Oops. Even though the NHTSA approved it does not mean it is going anywhere.
    Each state has its own requirements.
    Also, how is a state going to know how to tax this thing?

     

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