Bleeding Edge

by Mike Masnick

No Flying Car Yet, But Here, How About A Flight Simulator Of What It Would Be Like?

from the chitty-chitty-bang-bang dept

For years and years, futurists have predicted an age of "flying cars," that has never come about. Sure, there are plenty of startups out there working on such things, and a prototype here or there -- but the futuristic age of flying cars are still the stuff of myth and legend. Now, yet another company claims it will soon have what it calls "roadable aircraft" available, but you're going to have to wait two or three years (though, they're more than willing to take a deposit now). However, in the meantime, they're offering a flight simulator version of what it would be like if their vehicles actually existed. They call them roadable aircrafts, since they're meant more as flying vehicles, only to be driven short distances on roads (such as from your garage to an airport). So, if you're keeping track... you still can't buy a flying car. But, you can download a version of their vehicle if you happen to already own one particular brand of flight simulator. Somehow, that doesn't make us seem anywhere closer to having flying cars.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jay, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 8:37pm


    flying cars have been around since the 1950's they just never worked well and never really "took off" excuse the pun


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Paul Couture, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 8:45pm

    We've had flying cars...

    a lot longer than that - they're called airplanes. I think what people are waiting for is "inexpensive" flying cars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    jordan, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 9:06pm

    the anwser to flying cars is not flying at all...its not even a car. MONSTER TRUCKS is what people need. it would work perfectly.
    the fastest way between two points its a straight line.thats what a plane is all about (well that and speed if you want to be an asshole about it). and a monster truck can plaze a fucking path. and believe it or not they can also go across water, because the tires are so huge that they keep it afloat.
    sure you dont have the same speed, but with a plane you have to have a flight plan. drive to the airport and land at an air port. this cuts down on the speed of the system, giving the monster truck the advantage. and its also the answer to traffic jams. all you have to do is put it in low gear and crush the poor bastards under you while you hurry home to your frozen saulsbery steak tv dinners and re-runs of MASH.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jo Mamma, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 9:11pm


    You've opened my eyes to the truth of monster trucks!

    I'm gonna get me a mullet, buy me some beer, and blast some country music right now!

    Well, everything but the country music part...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Annoying Bastard, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 9:29pm

    screw that!

    I'm going to build my own quantum accelerator and leap back in time to when I was being born and strangulate myself on my umbilical cord so I won't fall prey to the mass media driven machine that made me sell my own soul before I even had the chance to know better. :-P

    Then I wouldn't even need to worry about the next great energy-hungry invention that I mass produced without even beginning to consider the global ramifications.

    Maybe if I cared more about silly things like a long-term, viable mass transit solution, such as a national electric railroad system, I wouldn't be so obsessed with becoming some overworked dweeb like George Jetson just so I could have a flying car...

    And just so I can really sound like a commie...

    Maybe we should pool our resources for the greater good instead of squandering them individually?

    Oh, wait, I went off topic... Sorry!

    It;s too bad this will never have happenned if I succeed!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    jordan, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 9:49pm

    move to europe

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    wayne, Sep 6th, 2006 @ 10:11pm

    lol I agree

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Brad, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 12:16am

    Bad understanding of time

    You can't change the past. It fundamentally doesn't work. Whatever you might try to do would have already happened the first time around, and so things can only go the exact same way.

    How arrogent are YOU to think that the universe cares what one particular set of molecules does to another? You're not special, you can't change the past, or the future for that matter.

    Your quantum-anything device will never happen, kid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    John, points out the obvious, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 1:07am


    Wow Mr Brad, Did you take his joke seriouslly? It is a pitty that you, Mr. Brad, happen to be more of a geek thank I, not because u feel you have a better grasp of time travel than the next man, but because u dont have enough of a sence of humor 2 see an obvious joke Damn!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    berlin in rome, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 3:55am

    Quantum Anything Device

    Damn! Does this mean we WON'T have a whatchamacallit to go back in time and stuff. I was saving all my federation credits for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 4:20am

    Great. Now i can get roadable aircraft-jacked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    berlin in rome, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 4:30am

    Terror alert

    I heard there are 'middle-eastern' types already learning to fly the roadable. Yikes!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Wolfger, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    Re: Terror alert

    Like they can't do more damage than that with a tanker truck full of gasoline? Please. Terror alerts are for politicians and sheep.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    E, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 5:28am

    You want to travel to the past?
    You'll poke your eye out kid!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Amerin, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 5:38am

    Silly Silly little people

    We all know the only real reason to travel back in time, is because you could make a mint, investing in all the things that will be huge, like going back to the 80's, investing in Microsoft, mobile phones, broadband, Amazon, Starbucks, I mean come on..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Wyndle, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 6:26am

    Re: Silly Silly little people

    Not true, other reasons exist. For example, go back to about 15 BC and start recording events that surround a young girl named Mary and follow her until she gives birth, then follow her son. Of course, the few TB of video would be worth a few billion dollars easy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Kaeli, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 7:24am

    I'm not alone!

    Not completely relevant to the topic, but Mike, I'm so glad to see that someone else remembers Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 9:14am

    WHAT BRAD?!?!?!?!?!?
    There is no way a "Way Back Machine" will work? You mean I can't change the past if I invent one, or someone else does? You mean there are alternate time lines like suggested in Star Trek.
    OMG!!! That would mean that Star Trek episodes ARE NOT historical documents?!?!?
    Arg Arg Arg, You are our last hope!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous of course, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    Flight simulator? Yarrgh!

    One of the co-op students in my lab went on to work
    for MD and was a flight simulator project. They had
    a leather aviator's helmet for the guy who rode the
    simulator ala Snoopy.

    One day he arrived at work severely hung over
    and very late. His manager just looked at him
    and then handed him the helmet. He told me
    he had never felt so sick as that day and hopes
    never to feel that sick ever again. I think they
    set him up for a rough ride.

    PS. I'm a time traveler, and I've invented
    the Wayforward machine. It looks like a
    regular office chair but when you sit in it
    and read Techdirt...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Mike Brown, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 12:44pm

    It would be nice, but...

    The biggest annoyance of being a private pilot is that when you get where you're going, you have to rent a car, take a cab or walk. A "roadable aircraft" would be an ideal solution, even if it's nothing more than a way to drive to your appointment or into town for the proverbial $100 hamburger, then drive back to the airport for the flight home.

    The problem is that cars and aircraft are designed to conflicting goals, and it may not be possible to create a single vehicle which will meet the technical and (more difficult) regulatory requirements of both flying and driving on the highway. By the time you're done adding the safety stuff required for a legal roadable car (air bags, legal bumpers and side-impact beams, crumple zones, lights, safety glass, etc.) you're already much heavier than an equivalent sized airplane. Then, you need two power systems - don't expect to get government approval to run your propellor or jet engine on the street, and the front-wheel drive won't do you a lot of good in the air. Then, there's all of the required "stuff" for both modes of transportation - wings and empennage and all the required navigation and other instrumentation, plus radio communications equipment and a transponder for flying, four wheels and associated steering and braking.

    By the time you're done you've got something which is neither a good car nor a practical plane, and that's what killed all of the previous systems.

    Finally, something they didn't need to deal with back in the 50's when "Love that Bob" was flying his flying car - you need to get your vehicle certified by the FAA and the NTSB (or is it NHTSA?) and EPA and I don't know how many other government agencies, while the time stretches into years and decades and your financing dries up.

    It would be nice, but I expect I'm going to be renting cars for a long time to come.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Another Pilot, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 1:42pm

    Re: It would be nice, but...

    That was a good response, and right-on.

    I think some innovation could result easily enough in an engine that could switch alternatively between powering wheels and power the prop, or perhaps a small engine just for the wheels, but that'd have to be certified from the ground up. The only pseudo-recent engine is the Thielert, and it's had slower than hell uptake in the market despite promising to remove dependence on 100LL.

    There is that, but thats not cost effective or available yet.

    NASA and the FAA would also need to finally finalize their systems to allow these types of aircraft to proceed from point A to point B safely, in a nearly fully automated fashion, in a highly efficient air traffic control environment that requires no input from the average joe who probably is given limited training on how to land in an emergency but beyond that must be fully assumed to be passed out drunk for the duration of the flight. Otherwise we'd all be asking for trouble..

    I suspect we'll be renting cars for a long time to come too.. On the bright side, these light sport planes are bringing some nice high-end tech to the low-end market. Hopefully competition finally takes prices out of the stratosphere! Paying 300k for technology that was phased out of cars 15-20 years ago is sick, and so is inflated avionics costs, and 15k for an option like air conditioning? Not that it's smart performance wise, but thats inflated beyond realistic levels. Competition needs to work its magic here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    fentex, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    Flying cars

    If my neighbours ever started flying cars around I"d start firing rockets around. It's a stupid idea that isn't really wnated in the real world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    GitErDone, Sep 8th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    Keeping an old beater car in the air

    Wait til the flying cars age, and are up in the air with leaking seals, rusted frames, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 11:12am

    We should never have flying cars do to the fact people would have crashes above our heads and there easy for a terrorist to take and cause damage

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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