Too much traffic on the freeway for your commute? Roll to the nearest open field and take off. Ah, the dream of commuters everywhere. The flying car. It’s a promise we have heard for generations, and a prediction Back to the Future got wrong. Damn…
TerraFugia is trying to make those wild dreams and promises a reality in the next eight to twelve years. Ambitious? Definitely. I’d take no potholes in the interim. The concerns that would have to be addressed are substantial.
Safety being the top priority. People can barely drive a regular car. Do we want them in the air? What about the car portion? Would it be able to handle the rigors of our less than pristine U.S. highway system?
Here’s TerraFugia’s render of what its flying car, the TF-X, could look like:
Ok, vertical takeoff and landing? That’s awesome. Not entirely sold on the aesthetics, but if it makes it to a final product, it’ll be improved. What about flying? You select where you want to go, and it does all the work with a 500-mile range and a top speed of 200mph.
Arriving at your destination, the TF-X handles the descent and landing for you. From there, it converts back to a car, and you roll on to you your parking spot. Sorry, you and the guy from marketing aren’t going to be duking it out in the air for that one parking spot.
Everything is about safety. The TF-X will be able to automatically avoid other air traffic. You think the FAA is having heartburn about commercial UAVs? Wait until your neighbors are flying around in cars.
If the TF-X or driver detects an uncontrollable emergency, there is a full-vehicle parachute onboard to get you back on the ground. It won’t be the nicest landing, but it beats crashing.
Declaring an emergency will allow you land in non-approved landing zones. Think the news reports of the Cessnas you see using the local interstate as their personal landing strip. Authorities would be alerted automatically in the event of a declared emergency.
Operators that become unresponsive will activate the TF-X’s emergency protocol to auto-land at the nearest airport.
TerraFugia promises a flying car that will hold four people in the traditional car-like comfort. No cramped plane seats. No need to build a giant garage with the TF-X. It will fit in a standard single-car garage.
What about price? That’s another unknown, but the company is estimating it will be similar to that of a high-end luxury car.
It’s something we’ve been promised for generations. A flying car. It’s easy to become jaded about the topic, but it’s one hell of a concept. 500 miles from my front yard? I’ll take one if it can look like a Roush Mustang. Hey, may as well dream…