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Author Topic: Another version of the flying car...  (Read 1658 times)
perkiset
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« on: April 02, 2012, 09:35:23 PM »

WANT

http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2012-04/video-flying-car-or-driving-autogyro-completes-first-flight-tests

OK, not really a flying car, more of a motorcycle in the MadMax vein, but WGAF, it's awesome.
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daviator
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 05:49:14 PM »

Timely story as this article about to successful first production prototype flight of the Terrafugia flying car just hit my mailbox this morning.

http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/pistons/lsa-flying-car-starts-flight-test-program

The Dutch effort is interesting but requires the pilot to be able to fly a rotorcraft (autogyro) which will limit its appeal, I think.  It also doesn't look like that craft has much carrying capacity.  Well, neither does the Terrafugia, but at least it has two seats.

Although the flying car concept has a lot of "cool factor" going for it, I am not convinced that any of these products will achieve commercial success.  I have a hard time seeing the market.  Part of the problem is that a flying car is a bit like the "jack of all trades, and master of none."  It's a poor car and a poor airplane, and it costs more than the combination of the two would.

Maybe I'm wrong and these will take off.  I can see flying somewhere and then driving from the airport to your destination (grandma's house?)  But it's hard to see how it would ever be practical to drive one of these things on the road, other than the trip between the airport and your nearby origin or destination.  (For one thing, the engine is wracking up hours at the same rate whether you are flying or driving.  At 2,000 hours you have to overhaul the engine, at a cost well into 5 figures.  And I expect the gas mileage on the ground to be really bad.)

Plus, if you park your flying car somewhere and someone messes with it, backs into it, etc... it's going to be really expensive, and if you don't notice the damage/tampering potentially catastrophic.  I'm thinking that you have to spend an inordinate amount of time doing preflight inspections on one of these, because everyone in the world may have had access to it and could have mucked with it.  One of the beauty of airplanes that can't leave the airport is that the pool of people who have access to them is pretty small.  But park in front of the local 7-11 and you'll have to worry about the local teenage dope dealer pouring his Slurpee on or into the flight surfaces, for example.

It'd be cool if I'm wrong.  But I will be surprised if I am.  I think these things will be novelties at best.
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perkiset
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 08:14:46 AM »

I totally agree, they have limited market at best. I'm thinking extremely specific applications and hipsters that need one, sort of like purchasing everything in a Sharper Image catalog.

But cool as anything. The Terra has been advertised for quite a while now ... I think it's closest to an actual flying car concept, but pretty ugly as a car. This autogyro looks like the most fun - I could see it doing better because goofballs that just want a toy would love it.

Personally though, I'm still in hopes that Moller actually makes it to the market. That thing is just sexy as hell and probably has the best shot at mass market.
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Earl Grey
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 01:26:51 PM »

Not so limited a market in europe.

I am not saying we all fly to work and back but there are lots of people that would have use for these.

Especially in places like russia.

And of course australia there are many people use air transport as their main vehicle.
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 02:30:39 PM »

Thats frickin awesome. I want one too.... Although I have to agree with daviator on the market. All these hybrids are necessary steps on the way to something that will eventually work but they are as mentioned the worst of both worlds unfortunately. For a start, if nothing else they still need a dedicated runway. Try getting away with one of those in downtown NYC or London. Until theres something safe and VTOL capable its a niche for gadget tweak heads like us. Anyone serious about needing air transport will use something better for the job and use a car to get to it. Anyways.....where the fish is the hoverboard ? I still want one of those. Anyone good with superconductors and skateboards ?

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