Have you ever imagined flying with your cars when you’re stuck in a traffic jam? Or dream of flying to the nearest city or island without transiting in the airport? We believe everyone, at least, thinks about it once. So, here we will discuss some fun facts about flying cars!
Flying cars will make your travel more accessible and quicker. You can go anywhere in a more direct route with the futuristic vehicle that can fly. Bumpy roads, traffic, and treacherous terrains will not be an obstacle if you can hover above them.
People have been trying to bring functional flying cars to reality for decades, even a century. The designs have evolved over the years, and commercial flying cars might be possible soon. You may have heard some success stories of flying cars from many different companies. Here are some facts about flying cars that will excite you!
1. The Father of Flying Cars Built The First Vehicle in 1917
Glenn Curtiss created the very first flying car in 1917 and presented the first roadable aircraft to the 1917 Pan-American Aeronautical Exposition in New York. Curtiss’ Autoplane has an aluminum body with three wings.
It is notable because it became the first embodiment of years of flying car theories. Unfortunately, it only makes short hops rather than the actual flight. Curtiss had to give up on the project because of the First World War outbreak.
2. Airphibian, The First Certified Flying Car
Robert Fulton had a brilliant idea of a roadable flying plane that features removable wings, the tail, and propellers. He designed them so those parts could be stored. It was a fresh flying car idea certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Airphibian is an actual, successful, roadable aircraft that could fly 120 miles per hour and drive 50 mph. However, the bright red flying car has to stop developing due to financial issues.
3. The Most Sophisticated Flying Car in 1949
Aerocar was probably the most sophisticated vehicle innovation in 1949. Robert Fulton’s Airphibian heavily inspires Moulton Taylor to build his own flying car. It featured the ability to drive, fly, and then drive again with five to ten minutes of conversing from car to airplane.
It offered a self-contained package of wings and tail when the vehicle was in drive mode. This vehicle is the last flying car that received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1956 after its role model, Airphibian. If not for the oil crisis, Ford Motor Co. might have marketed this roadable aircraft widely in 1970.
4. Canadian and U.S. Government Join Forces to Build The First Military Flying Car
In the early 1950s, Canadians, particularly Avro Canada, made an effort to build supersonic fighter aircraft. The VTOL vehicle has the typical appearance of a “flying saucer” from science fiction movies. The Canadian government tried to provide initial funding in 1952. Still, they had to give in.
Then Avro Canada approached the U.S. government to continue the project. The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force finally took over the flying car project in 1958. They want Avro to create a vehicle that meets their different requirements in military usage.
Avrocar made two prototypes that sadly didn’t meet the target. In December 1961, the joint forces canceled the project. Currently, the first prototype resides at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, and the second one stays at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in Fort Eustis.
5. Aeroplane Served as Traffic Plane
Here is another fun fact about flying cars! After securing the FAA certificate, Aerocar became a hot issue. One of the six vehicles was sold to Don W. Burden, the owner of KISN. The roadable aircraft flew for the radio station as their real-time traffic plane for air and ground for a year.
6. Flying Cars Became The Television’s Rising Star
The flying car regularly appeared in the 1962 Bob Cummings’ weekly television show, The New Bob Cummings Show. In the show, he had the idea of being a pilot with the flying car where he is himself a licensed pilot. Since he owned the roadable aircraft, he rode it as his personal vehicle for his TV show.
7. Flying Car is Pictured As Future Vehicle In Cartoons
The most loved cartoon by Americans, The Jetsons, sets their timeline far in the future. Therefore, the George Jetson series was ahead of its time since it featured a flying car in 1962. Do not forget the purple flying vehicle of the infamous villain Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races.
The Mean Machine can fly, even though it never brings the driver to win the race. Flying cars seem to significantly impact Americans’ dream to turn fiction into a reality. Not only American cartoons seem to have the same vision. You can find handmade flying cars in Mr. Bean’s animated series that help him run from the police in the Litterbugs episode.
8. Disney’s Plane Real Character Was Taylor Aerocar
Disney often offers magical and imaginational creatures in their movies. Whether it’s a person, animal, or non-living thing, they always make it real. Thus, many people believed that Disney purposefully developed a new character for their Plane movie in 2013. However, it took the actual appearance of the 1954 Taylor Aerocar.
9. The Only Degree Course For Flying Car is Available In Udacity
There has been a degree course for flying car engineering by Silicon Valley e-learning school Udacity since 2018. It offers two 12-week terms for a nano degree with an online certification. The school co-founder, Sebastian Thrun, looks forward to the future of aerial vehicles from companies developing the technologies, like Airbus, Amazon, and Uber.
10. Flying Car Gets UBER Set A New Goal In Creating New Service
After their innovation on self-driving taxis and driverless truck deliveries, Uber set their eyes on flying cars. The company began its research and development on VTOL aircraft based on Uber’s released paper. Uber invested $125 million in Joby Aviation.
This air taxi start-up acquired Uber Elevate and focused on developing the VTOL aircraft. They plan to have a new cost-effective and efficient ridesharing service. Furthermore, the company expects to bring the clients between suburbs and cities, and of course, within cities. The company intends to launch the air taxi service by 2023. Such a fun fact about flying cars! We can’t wait to ride on one!
11. The Transition Reclaims Its Place As The World’s First Roadable Aircraft
Since it was released in 2011, The Transition finally obtained the unique Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate. It goes through a long process, including 80 days of flight testing and delivering 150 technical documents.
Adapting the initial form of a flying car, The Transition is more like a small roadable plane than the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) flying car. It also uses petroleum as its fuel, just like the other cars. However, they produce and sell the flight-only version for starters until their on-road operation gets approval.
12. Successful Flying Car Project Meets An End In December 2019
Airbus A3 Vahana achieved remarkable results for the four-years project from 2016 to 2019. They manage to have two primary vehicles, Alpha One and Alpha Two.
It uses the advanced technology of autonomous flight. Airbus proudly presents the notable stats from 138 flights from its final flight testing. It reaches its most prolonged flight duration at 19 minutes 56 seconds and the farthest flight at 27.14 nautical miles or 50.24km. It has to meet the end of the project as Airbus starts the second eVTOL demonstrator, CityAirBus.
13. Bringing Flying Cars Into Reality Is Expensive And Time-Consuming
It’s not only time but also money that seems endlessly gone to the flying car project. Taking Aeromobil as an example, they have been working on vehicle development for over 30 years with failure and success on their hands.
Before succeeding in the flight test in 2020 with the model 4.0, Aeromobil 3.0 met with an unfortunate test flight accident in 2015. After all the effort in bringing the flying car to life, Aeromobil is still waiting for government certification. The company expects to launch the flying car in 2023 for commercial sale.
14. Successful AirCar Flight Test Between International Airports In Slovakia
Here is a more uplifting fact about flying cars! AirCar, a flying car developed by Klein Vision, has a successful 35-minute flight test between Nitra and Bratislava international airports in Slovakia in June 2021.
It travels for 59 miles or 96km from the starting point to the destination point. Prof Klein, the creator, directly drives the roadable aircraft and has completed 40 hours with the vehicle in the air.
This prototype is not based on VTOL. It needs a runway to take off and land. However, it only needs two minutes and 15 seconds to convert its body from car to aircraft. Aircar uses a 160bhp 1.6-liter BMW engine that supports the vehicle to cruise at 186mph.
15. Jetson Aero Sold Out The PleasureCraft, Jetson One
The founder of Swedish start-up Jetson Aero, Peter Thernstrom, and his co-founder Tomasz Patan built a prototype of a flying car based on a drone. The fully-electric vehicle is made to follow US regulations that don’t require a pilot license.
The 20 minutes flying time in one charge allows anyone to have fun in the sky with the pleasurecraft. This flying car attracts many people and points to a sold-out for the entire 2022 year’s production.
16. There Are No Safety Regulations For Flying Cars Yet
Now, the last fun fact about flying cars! Based on statistics, flying is safer than driving. But what kind of flying is recorded in the stats? Yes, it’s the commercial flights done by commercial airlines. Then how about the other aircraft, in this particular case, the flying car? Even though the created flying cars are similar to airplanes, there is still no safety regulation that rules them.
If airplanes have an airport traffic control system to manage their flights, flying cars have nothing on their side to monitor their “free” take off, landing, and route yet. Let alone the autopilot system that needs to be applied to each flying car.
Without training the pilot, any malfunction with the system will be a huge disadvantage and risk for everyone. As we know, a flying car is a unique hybrid of cars and aircraft. Therefore, the drivers behind the wheels need to have their ground and air driving license ready before taking off the streets.
After decades and even centuries of creating new technology, people finally get closer to their dreams. The world is now waiting for the flying car that comes from the future, just like in movies. Many have tried to bring it to reality but only some have successfully proved its functionality.
However, a new technology also means a new risk. Even vehicles with a long list of strict rules on the ground can be dangerous, then how about the flying car? This quest is not only for the developer to find out but governments and experts to join hands in preparing the solution. We don’t want to add a series of unfortunate accidents due to unreadiness mixed with greed, do we?